National culpable for youth suicide | The Jackal

20 Jul 2017

National culpable for youth suicide

The youth suicide rate in New Zealand is atrocious! Every year it stands as an embarrassing failure of our system to look after and value young people properly. But why have things got so bad? Well one reason is a government that doesn’t really care. National is more concerned with token gestures to try and save face rather than actually putting money where it matters.

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

More kids in crisis being turned away by public system

Now a deep-thinking 13-year-old, Max has a message for Prime Minister Bill English.

"My mum tried really hard to get me help. She rang many places, places that advertise that they are available 24/7, places that advertise that they are there for you if you need them.

"Nobody was. Nobody believed my mum that I was 10 and had been serious about killing myself," he wrote in a letter to the New Zealand Herald.

People looking for help and not finding it is an all too regular occurrence under National.

"I worry that the taxes we are paying aren't going to the places they should and we will continue to see a rise in child suicide because of this. I hope we can get Bill English to listen to us," Max wrote, signing off with a smiley face. 
Almost 2000 young people like Max were rejected or quickly referred on from specialist mental health services in New Zealand last year. That number, contained in documents released under the Official Information Act (OIA), grows every year.

It’s little wonder that New Zealand remains a world leader on youth suicide. If the government is failing to properly fund mental health and other frontline services and this is worsening people’s circumstances they’re in fact culpable for people committing suicide.

Under Section 179 of the Crimes Act it's illegal to assist someone else to commit suicide, which is arguably what the National led government is doing. They’re assisting hundreds of vulnerable people to commit suicide through a lack of proper funding for prevention services.