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World Suicide Prevention Day

5 August 2011

World Suicide Prevention Day

CASPER, a group of families who have lost loved ones to suicide, is planning a series of events to mark World Suicide Prevention Day on Sept 10.

The first event on September 2nd is a presentation of international research on the links between antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs and suicide, violence and welfare dependence. The CASPER families have sold assets and pooled their private resources to bring American author and Pulitizer Prize finalist Robert Whitaker to New Zealand to present his research. Psychiatrist and Psycho-pharmacologist Professor David Healy from the University of Wales, who is in New Zealand for the annual conference of the Royal College of General Practitioners, will also speak at the CASPER event.

Both speakers have researched the evidence linking mental health treatment to a range of adverse outcomes including suicide, violence and disability.

In addition to the event in Auckland, Robert Whitaker will speak at events in New Plymouth and Wellington.

On 8th September, CASPER families and their supporters will march to parliament to raise awareness of the reality of suicide in New Zealand. New Zealand has the highest rate of youth suicide in the OECD, a rate twice that of the US and Australia and five times that of the UK. The Child and Youth Mortality Review Committee report that 10% of the deaths of our 10-14 year olds are suicides and that more young people under 25 die from suicide than from all medical causes combined. New Zealand’s youngest known suicide victim is 6 years old.

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Following the march, CASPER will host the first ever gathering of families bereaved by suicide and launch its sibling network. CASPER’s work with children who have lost brothers and sisters to suicide shows that these children have a strong desire to make contact with other children who have shared their experience.

CASPER is holding its first annual fundraising event with branded, glow-in-the-dark shoelaces available in all Number 1 Shoes stores throughout New Zealand from 8 August. It is also encouraging communities to support it by running community barbeques to promote community cohesion and raise funds for CASPER’s work in the community.


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