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Lifeline CEO says suicide myths don’t help

Lifeline CEO says suicide myths don’t help.

Most New Zealanders believe that suicide is a relatively rare event, but according to Jo Denvir CEO of Lifeline Aotearoa, this is simply one of many myths circulating our communities.

“A lack of knowledge about suicide and how to prevent suicide is a problem that New Zealanders need to address.” Says Ms Denvir.

With the provisional coronial data showing an increase in completed suicides for 2014/2015, it would seem Ms Denvir has a point. She is calling for communities to be active in preventing suicide.

“If we accept that thoughts of suicide have the potential to occur in all humans, then it is much easier to accept that suicide is something we can protect against and prevent when it arises.” Ms Denvir continues.

International studies conservatively estimate that 7 percent of a population will have thoughts of suicide in any given year. That’s 1 in 17 New Zealanders, certainly a rate that sounds more common than rare.

“People who believe suicide is abnormal and rare are not prepared should thoughts of suicide occur. This is when isolation sets in and feelings of desperation and shame start to surface creating barriers to reach out for help.” Ms Denvir warns.

Lifeline’s campaign ‘Start the Conversation Today – Me tīmata te kōrero I tēnei rā!’ encourages New Zealanders to reach out and talk with loved ones about the hard stuff that might cause someone to think about suicide.

“Look how far we have come in family violence.” Says Ms Denvir. “Family violence was something we never talked about, it was seen as intrusive. Now we know that its not intrusive, it’s caring and loving to reach out to another human in distress. It’s the same with preventing suicide.”

This World Suicide Prevention Day Ms Denvir is challenging everyone to think about learning ASIST suicide first-aid skills or attending a safeTALK suicide alertness course in the community.

In the meantime, become more prepared and familiarize yourself with Lifelines 5 safety steps.

1. Check in and ask about suicide - Open and direct talk about suicide is key to suicide prevention. Asking about suicide says ‘I Care’ and is an invitation to talk rather than an intrusion into someone’s life.

2. Listen without judgment - Listening and caring are your best tools right now.

3. Take them seriously - If a person talks about suicide always take them seriously. Often these thoughts can be scary for a person at risk to talk about. Taking them seriously helps them to feel safe and to keep talking.

4. Ask if they have a plan - Finding out if there is a plan will help you both to decide what help is needed next.

5. Connect in with professionals. Work together to find someone who knows how to do a suicide first aid intervention like your GP, or call Lifeline's Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 TAUTOKO (82 88 65) Free 24/7 support from a mobile or landline.

ENDS


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