Rightwing agenda increasing youth suicide | The Jackal

4 Sep 2012

Rightwing agenda increasing youth suicide

Yesterday, Stuff reported:

As more youth and Maori are claiming their own lives, it has also been revealed that a young boy under the age of 10 has recently committed suicide.

The boy was one of 547 people who killed themselves in the last year.

Chief coroner Judge Neil MacLean released the annual suicide statistics today, which cover the period from July 2011 to June 2012.

Today, the NZ Herald reported (not online yet) the amount of suicides for 2010-11 was 558.

The number of youths taking their own lives has surged by more than 40 per cent, and the suicide of a child under 9 has been recorded for the first time.

Which completely contradicts what Radio NZ reported on 15 August:

Latest statistics show a small increase in suicide for adults and a very slight decrease in youth suicide.

In 2010, 522 people took their own lives, up from 510 deaths in 2009.

There was one less youth suicide, with 113 teenagers dying in 2010.

Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne says the suicide rate is lower than the peak in 1998 when 577 people died by suicide.

Could it be that politicians are ensuring these stats are massaged to not reflect badly on them? But more importantly why are more youth committing suicide than ever before?

The simple answer is that they've lost hope because of adverse social conditions impacting on their young lives. Many of these detrimental influences are caused by the government's economic mismanagement and biased decision making that favours the baby boomers over younger generations.

There's no doubt that National's negative policy direction is partly to blame... In particular increasing inequality has disproportionately affected the young who often bear the brunt when things go wrong.  The further entrenchment of user pays has been detrimental to youth who simply don't have the funds available to pay for things. They are therefore alienated from their communities. A lack of job prospects and inflation far outstripping wage increases has also disproportionately affected the young.

Just like the poverty issue, National is wasting time gathering reports on the reasons for youth suicide before they decide to act or not, knowing all the while it's their repressive policy direction that's partly to blame for increasing youth suicide in the first place. New Zealand has the highest rate of Youth suicide in the OECD.

The solution is pretty simple, National needs to throw away the out-dated neoliberal agenda and wake up from their ideological stupor. They need to ensure the young are not treated as slaves, are able to find their place in society and have support services through proper funding. Only then can New Zealand progress into a brighter future where people do not feel suicide is a viable option. Only then will young people think they have a future in New Zealand at all.