Labour's deputy leader Jacinda Ardern has spoken emotionally about a friend who died when she was a young teenager and the impact youth suicide had on her and her small Morrinsville community.
Ardern was announcing Labour's policy to roll out school-based health services to all schools at the party's election year conference in Wellington.
Her voice breaking, she spoke of learning about the suicide of her best friend's 15-year-old brother when she was 13.
"I'd just started high school and I still remember to this day where I was standing outside the science block when I found out.
"I went straight to my friend's home and spent the next few days with the family as they grappled with the grief of losing their own boy.
"And I still remember to this day the messages that hung around the wall from his friends and classmates during his funeral.
"Every single thing about that seemed unfair and still does to this day. Even at my friend's wedding just a few years ago the sense of loss, of there being someone missing from that place still hung in the air."
She said every single suicide was not just a life lost, but a community shattered.
She said about 10 per cent of schools currently had health teams onsite, a mix of nurses, GPs and counsellors depending on the school.
Ardern said having such a service onsite had been shown to reduce depression and suicide risk by up to two thirds and had the the potential to save lives.
However, they were only in low decile schools and did not offer a comprehensive service.
"Mental health issues are not confined to low decile schools."
Labour's policy would see every state secondary school get a nurse with call-in support from a GP at an estimated cost of $40 million a year, funded from the health budget.
The school-based health services were introduced under the Labour government in 2008 and currently funds nurses in decile 1-3 schools.
• 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)
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.