Aotearoa has the highest youth suicide rate in the OECD, and most of us know someone who has died by suicide or been through a suicidal crisis. The Mental Health Foundation’s (MHF) newest suicide prevention resource offers parents, teachers, friends and whānau practical guidance to kōrero about suicide with taiohi/young people.
Taiohi can come across suicide in many ways – they may see it on TV such as in popular Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, they may know someone who has died by suicide or be supporting a friend who is feeling suicidal.
“We all have a role to play in preventing suicide, and although it can feel hard it’s important that anyone who cares about our taiohi can have safe, open, direct and compassionate kōrero so they feel heard, supported and understood,” Mental Health Foundation general manager, Daemon Coyle says.
“We want people to know that it is OK to talk about suicide – it won’t plant the idea in someone’s head, but checking in could help save a life,” adds Mr Coyle.
Connecting through Kōrero offers practical guidance around talking about suicide. It includes conversation starters, things to avoid, answers to tricky questions and information on where to turn for more support if you’re concerned about someone.
“It’s not an easy thing to talk about. People have their own experiences, judgments and beliefs to navigate,” says Mr Coyle. “This resource shows parents, teachers, friends and whānau that they’re not alone – there’s support out there and with the right guidance they can talk about it compassionately and make a positive impact on our taiohi.”
It’s important to know that the Connecting through Kōrero resource is not designed to help in a crisis situation. If you are worried a taiohi is having thoughts of their own suicide right now, our worried about someone webpage will be more useful.