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Posted by te2ataria on August 22, 2016

Sent by a reader with relatives in Greymouth

Suicides on the West Coast “four times the national average”

“The fact that there are more suicides in New Zealand than deaths from drowning and car crashes combined means our fire brigade are more likely to attend a suicide than a motor vehicle accident,” said Runanga fire chief Gavin Gibbens has attended five suspected suicides in the last 18 months..

[The fire chief is clearly unaware that the stats for both the road fatalities and drownings in New Zealand are heavily manipulated. But, point taken Chief! –Moderator]

Greymouth woman Tracy Stark, who has set up an online support group and launched a petition calling for wider reporting on suicide deaths in the media, said she knew of nine people who have died as a result of suicide since Christmas.  They were either her friends or her children’s friends, she said.

Stark said she had witnessed the “devastating effect” of suicides, often exacerbated by the subject being taboo.

“I know mums who have been hushed up from speaking to the media,” she said.

She complained about the West Coast lacking sufficient mental health, substance abuse and anger management services.

“It’s an epidemic. I’m sick of suicides. I’m sick of burying people,” she said.

The “silent killer” was partly as a result of lack of jobs on the West Coast, said Chief  Gibbens.

“Alcohol and drugs exacerbates the situation . . . loss of identity in the town, relationships breaking down because of financial or drug and alcohol issues or violence,” he said.

“It’s a taboo thing to talk about but I am hoping we will put together a pamphlet about suicide awareness,” he added.

He was aware of at least 12 suspected suicides on the West Coast in the past year.

“We have a population of 30,000-odd. Nationally the figures are one in 10,000, well we have four times the national average.”

In 2015, some 569 deaths [a fraction of the actual total] were ruled as a suicide or suspected suicide in New Zealand.

How one mum has been stopped from talking about her son’s suicide

The mother, a Christchurch resident, lost her son on November 24, 2013. He was 18 years and nine months old.

“As the anniversary of his death approached, she wanted to celebrate him. She spoke to a reporter, but then, a coroner suppressed the details around her son’s death.

“The family can not be identified because as part of the suppression ruling, her son’s name may not be associated with the mention of suicide.”

Links to external reports:

Other News in Drips…

Person killed while trying to warn motorists about accident
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11698431

One killed in Rotoroa crash
One person killed, five others injured, two of them critically.
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11698760

Another body found in Browns Bay
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11698284

  • No. of road fatalities recorded by Minitru as of August 3: Only 195
  • No. of reported road fatalities between 2 and 18 August: At least 25
  • No. of road fatalities recorded by Minitru as of August 22: Only 212

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