Suicide comments cause expert alarm

By Chloe Johnson

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

Mental health experts are alarmed that hundreds of people have backed an online opinion that says suicide should not be regarded as important as child abuse - because suicide victims choose to die.

The suggestion has appeared on a Facebook page set up to remember Nia Glassie, the Waikato toddler who died at the hands of her caregivers five years ago.

An administrator of the RIP Nia Glassie - Never Forgotten page wrote: "Why is it that suicide events get more funding and publicity than this kind of tragedy? People who commit suicide choose to take their life ... people like Nia had her life taken."

Dozens of irate people, some who have lost family to suicide, attacked the administrator, but more than 1200 people "liked" the comment.

The person behind the post told the Herald on Sunday her name was Marley and she stood behind what she wrote.

Another administrator removed the post because of negative feedback, she said.

University of Otago's intentional injury research co-ordinator, Dr Shyamala Nada-Raja, said the comment missed a key point.

"There needs to be a collective effort because the inter-relationships between these problems are very strong," Nada-Raja said. "People who have experienced violence in the family are at an elevated risk for self-harming and suicidal behaviour."

Maria Bradshaw, who lost her 17-year-old son to suicide four years ago and now leads a support group named Casper for people like her, was shocked about the "ill-informed comment".

"In the end we all suffered a terrible trauma and we don't want to compete with each other," she said.

WHERE TO GET HELP
If it's an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111. Or call Youthline 0800 376 633, Lifeline 0800 543 354, Depression Helpline 0800 111 757, What's Up 0800 942 8787 (noon-midnight).

If you or someone you know wants advice on dealing with cyber bullies contact the NetSafe help line 0508 NETSAFE (0508 638 723).

- Herald on Sunday

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