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Labour Backs Call For Suicide Prevention Campaign

Associate Health Spokesperson
3 December 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT

Labour Backs Call For Suicide Prevention Campaign

Labour’s Mental Health and Addictions spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway is backing Christchurch coroner Sue Johnson’s call for a suicide prevention campaign.

“Suicide has long been a taboo subject – something that many people have felt, for whatever reason, we shouldn’t talk about.

“But as Ms Johnson notes - and chief coroner Judge Neil MacLean pointed out earlier this year - sweeping such a devastating issue under the carpet is not the way to tackle the problem.

“While people considering suicide often reach out to those around them, most of us wouldn’t know what to do in that situation. Too many of us look back and say ‘I wish I’d done something.’

“Mental illness is one of the leading causes of ill health and suicide one of the leading causes of early death amongst people under the age of 65. A recent Australian mental health scorecard indicated that people with severe mental illness have a life expectancy of 25 years less than average. Yet our Minister of Health, who is obsessed with targets, has not made mental health one of his top priorities.

“Mental illness and suicide are tricky subjects. If we are to make any real progress, however, we have to put our unease about discussing them to one side.

“Every suicide is a devastating loss of a life full of potential. By bringing the subject out into the open, we can take action to stop the painful loss of young lives.”



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