Messages of hope: Moving account from woman who 'couldn't see any way out'

By Melissa Nightingale

Jazz Thornton remembers exactly how she felt right before she tried to take her own life.

Completely lost, completely alone, thinking everyone would be better off if she was gone, and believing at her very core that she was "unlovable".

"At the time, I couldn't see any way out. I had struggled with suicidal thoughts for nine years already," she said.

Thornton reached the point where her depression was not fuelled by her circumstances, but instead by a hatred for herself.

I think that it's showing hope in a way that hope hasn't been shown before
Jazz Thornton

In a brave move to reach out to others who are feeling the same way, Thornton and three others have read out their suicide notes in a moving video aimed at showing people there is hope.

Actor Rob Mokaraka reads out his suicide note as part of video showing there is hope for others dealing with depression. Photo/Voices of Hope
Actor Rob Mokaraka reads out his suicide note as part of video showing there is hope for others dealing with depression. Photo/Voices of Hope

The video, called 'Dear Suicidal Me', was released today by non-profit group Voices of Hope, founded by Thornton and her friend Genevieve Mora when they were 18 years old.

In the clip, the four suicide attempt survivors read their suicide notes aloud for the first time, then read out letters to their past selves, explaining how their lives will get better.

"When I thought up the idea for the video, I wanted people who were maybe in that kind of state that you see at the start, where they feel like there's no hope, feel like you can't go on anymore, I wanted them to be able to relate," Thornton said.

The others in the video are award-winning actor Rob Mokaraka, internet personality Liam Miscellaneous, and singer Brendan Pyper.

"There was a lot of tears when we were filming the first part," Thornton said.

"I think that it's showing hope in a way that hope hasn't been shown before."

The emotional start to the video is completely "raw".

"We're not presenting fabricated hope . . . this is the raw reality of life."

The words in the video are ones that may resonate with others in the depths of depression.

You have to choose to not be a statistic. I had to choose to fight.
Jazz Thornton

"I'm not worth it and I know that I don't deserve anything good, because I am shit," Mokaraka said.

"I can no longer put the burden of my life on anyone else," Thornton reads from her note.

"I have no friends. I feel so unliked and alone. I just want it all to stop," Pyper said.

Thornton wanted people who were feeling the same way to relate to the speakers in the video, and realise they weren't alone and that if these people could get through it then they could too.

For Thornton, what brought her back from her suicidal state was realising the people in her life did love her.

"There's been a couple of people who have been by my side the entire time, but I had never kind of realised that they actually did love me."

It was when Thornton, who had spent three weeks in a coma and time in the mental health ward after her suicide attempt, was being hugged by the people who had stuck by her, that she began to realise her thoughts in her suicidal state were false.

"These people do love you and you can do this, but you have to choose to not be a statistic. I had to choose to fight."

Thornton wanted people to know that hope was real and help was available, and that they could achieve their dreams.

In June and July she will be touring schools around New Zealand and Australia to spread the message of hope.

Mental Health Foundation spokeswoman Moira Clunie said the foundation commended Voices of Hope for the video, and commended the four "brave and generous people" who shared their stories.

"Lots of people feel suicidal at times in their lives. It can feel impossible to have hope that things will get better. One thing that can help is seeing and hearing how other people have found a way through.

"The video shows how suicidal thinking distorts people's perspective. It can make people feel like loved ones may be better off without them, like they can't connect with others, and that there is no other way out of their situation. It's important for people to know that while these thoughts might be overwhelming, they won't always feel like this.

"For anyone who watches this video and recognises their own thoughts in the first half, we urge them to reach out and talk about how they feel with a trusted person, a helpline or their GP. It's not a sign of weakness to ask for help, it's the bravest thing you can do."

Where to get help:

Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)

Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)

Youthline: 0800 376 633

Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)

Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)

Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)

Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155

Samaritans 0800 726 666

Your local Rural Support Trust - 0800 787 254 (0800 RURAL HELP)

Alcohol Drug Helpline (open 24/7) - 0800 787 797. You can also text 8691 for free.

For more information, contact the Mental Health Foundation's free Resource and Information Service on 09 623 4812.

If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.

- NZ Herald

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