New resource on how to talk about suicide with youth

By Jessica Tyson

The Mental Health Foundation has released a new resource offering parents, teachers, friends and whānau practical guidance to talk about suicide with youth.

It includes conversation starters, things to avoid saying, answers to tricky questions and information on where to turn for more support.

Mental Health Foundation general manager Daemon Coyle says, "We want people to know that it is okay to talk about suicide- it won't plant the idea in someone's head, but checking in could help save a life."

"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."

According to the Mental Health Foundation, Aotearoa has the highest youth suicide rate in the OECD and taiohi can come across suicide in many ways.

This includes on television, 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," Coyle says.

The resource is online only and available to download from the Mental Health Foundation website.

If you or anyone you know is affected by suicide and needs help you can contact LifeLine on 0800 543 535 or the Suicide Crisis 0508 TAUTOKO.