The release of the coroner's report into the death of Whanganui doctor Chris Cresswell confirmed what many had suspected — that he took his own life.

That, at least, puts an end to much rumour and speculation which followed the shocking news.

But, of course, it leaves us open to greater speculation — how could it have come to this?

Dr Cresswell was an active, committed, passionate man whether it was his work or the political causes that meant so much to him. What could push someone with so much vitality over the edge?

Advertisement

The questions seem unanswerable; the act unfathomable.

The stresses of a highly-pressured job, the feeling that the world is going to hell in a handcart ... these may have contributed to what was ailing Dr Cresswell.

But depression is not something easily explained — even for someone like me who suffers mild depression and juggles the demands of a pressured job and parenthood.

One felt the same stunned bafflement at TV newsman Greg Boyed's demise. So much to live for ...

Chris Cresswell was a regular and valued contributor to the Chronicle and on page 2 we reproduce part of an article he wrote shortly before his death.

It concerns the overwhelming expectations of people at Christmas, something he describes as "a massive weight".

With hindsight, it appears as a particularly revealing and poignant piece, addressing, as it does, stresses and anxiety.

New Zealand's too-high suicide rate, particularly among males, was highlighted by the NZ Herald's award-winning Break The Silence campaign to reduce youth suicide which prompted a more open discussion about what has for too long been a taboo subject.

The media is forbidden from reporting the means by which someone takes their own life because of the fear of copycat behaviour, but some of the restrictions around how we handle this topic have been loosened.

That said, when faced with tragedies such as Dr Cresswell's death, one feels there is a long way to go and much more discussion needed.


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