Letters: No more suicides!

Youth depression and suicide is still a big issue in New Zealand.
Youth depression and suicide is still a big issue in New Zealand.

Whangarei Mayor Sheryl Mai's plea to our young generation reflects what most of us want desperately, an end to this tragic spiral of youth suicide.

It's a plea not only to our youngsters to call out for help when live seems desperately bleak, but to all of us as it is a matter concerning our whole society.

Our suicide statistics, and not just for youngsters, are shocking, shameful and embarrassing. For a long time issues have been building up in the social fabric of our lovely nation, which need urgent attention.

Kahui Neho, suicide prevention educator is right when he says "Prevention of suicide is through education and knowledge". We fail as a society to provide the power of knowledge through adequate education for our young ones, but also for adults. Life - affirming, positive attitudes in young people stems from support, love and the willingness of society to provide education opportunities.

Three suspected suicides in four days! This comes when we learn about proposed cuts at NorthTec, which will further slash education opportunities for the young ones.

36 jobs cut also means, enormous pressure on those families affected. I am sure many of them have children and teenagers as well. When there is little or no money in the family budget, children suffer.

It disgusts me how little value we attach as a society to good education and in particular to visual arts, recreation and sports. It is widely accepted in most civilised countries, that institutions like Northtec cannot be run as a profit-making business, instead they have to be funded extensively, as the return cannot be measured in money, but in the health of society.

We all have responsibilities to safeguard the future of our young ones, particularly if we are in the powerful positions of decision-making, in politics, education or otherwise. We might just be parents and worry, but we can help to change attitudes.

THOMAS LAUTERBACH
Whangarei

- Northland Age

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