Youthline urges swift action
Youthline supports Suicide Prevention Office establishment but urges swift action
Youthline applauds the Government’s commitment to boosting mental health and addiction programmes and its intention to establish a Suicide Prevention Office but we urge swifter action in relation to implementing the programmes announced in the last budget and seek assurance that the soon to be announced Suicide Prevention Strategy will deliver short-term benefits.
A recent survey of young New Zealanders undertaken by Colmar Brunton on behalf of Youthline confirmed the biggest issue faced by youth today relates to mental health with 83% citing mental health issues, depression and anxiety.
Compared to 2016 significantly more young people view suicide as a big issue for their generation.
The young people told us to address New Zealand’s high youth suicide rate we need to remove the stigma of talking about mental health, provide better support in schools and empower youth through education to manage stress and look after their mental health. There was also a strong theme around reducing pressure on young people, from education, social media, the expectation to succeed and securing employment. The pressures and stress youth are feeling today are akin to the experiences of adults but they may not yet have been able to develop the skills to cope.
Compared to 2016, significantly more youth feel they did not receive the support they needed when facing a difficult time.
The survey identified Youthline as the most recognised youth support organisation. From our Helpline, 2 out of 5 texts received relate to anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicide and 1 out of 5 specifically around suicide, a 40% increase on 4 years ago. Last year we managed over 273,410 contacts to our Helpline. Through the Helpline, face to face counselling, youth mentoring and educational programmes Youthline helped 34,542 individual young people last year.
Youthline’s CEO Shae Ronald said “Family and friends play an integral part in supporting New Zealand youth through difficult times. Young people have told us what will make a difference to them. We need to listen”. “Listen to them. And listen to their solutions”.
She said “The Suicide Prevention Strategy and any activities undertaken by the Office to address youth suicide must reflect what young people are telling us will reduce the rising tide of young people taking their own lives”.
Youthline looks forward to working with all stakeholders to address the distressingly large numbers of young people who are dying by suicide in Aotearoa/New Zealand.