Matthew Martin is a senior reporter at the Rotorua Daily Post

Rotorua talks about suicide (+video)

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In what is hoped to be an annual event a group of people passionate about helping raise awareness of suicide took to the streets wearing yellow on the weekend.

The Hikoi 4 Hope was run by Te Runanga o Ngati Pikiao Suicide Prevention Team and started at the Village Green before heading down Tutanekai St and stopping at the City Focus for speeches and presentations.

Ngati Pikiao team member Neihana Mackey said about 30 to 40 people took part in the hikoi and "everyone who was there was there for the cause".

"Whanau got up and shared their stories and messages of hope for our rangatahi (youth) and all of our whanau here in Rotorua.

"This was the first event from out Ngati Pikiao Suicide Prevention Team and we are looking to hold it every year on Suicide Prevention Day.

"We are just trying to create more awareness in the community, instilling hope and saying we can all ask for help and that it's all right to ask for help and where to get that help.

Mr Mackey said many people struggled to even ask for help or didn't know how to approach the situation.

"It's about educating whanau around signs and symptoms of suicide so we can look out for people a bit more, teach new skills to our whanau and share what we know.

"We had awesome support from our community and a big shout out has to go to our Maori Wardens who did a great job for the hikoi," he said.

Speakers came from a variety of Rotorua organisations including Te Pae Akurangi Fitzel from Te Runanga o Ngati Pikiao, Derryn Hyde from Linkage, James Rakena Robinson and representatives from primary mental health organisation, REAL.

The Ngati Pikiao suicide prevention team was established in 2009 and has established training for whanau to access, and it supports whanau affected by suicide.

Where to get help:
Lifeline - 0800 543 354
Suicide Crisis Helpline (open 24/7) - 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
Depression Helpline - 0800 111 757
Samaritans - 0800 726 666
Youthline (open 24/7) - 0800 376 633. Text 234 for free between 8am and midnight, or email talk@youthline.co.nz.
0800 WHATSUP (0800 9428 787), open between 1pm and 10pm on weekdays and from 3pm to 10pm on weekends. Online chat is available from 7pm to 10pm every day at www.whatsup.co.nz.
Healthline - 0800 611 116

- Rotorua Daily Post

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