"You don't know what you don't know" comes to mind while diving deeper into the frantic thoughts shared with me over the years. It is clear to see the fear young people are feeling.
I have been in spaces where young people are upset about why attention is shown only after another life is lost. They are confused as to why we are not constantly raising this as an issue.
The chief coroner's suicide report shows there is a decrease in youth suicide which is encouraging to see, but the fact remains the same - New Zealand has the highest rate of youth suicide in the developed world, with Māori youth having higher suicide rates than youth from other ethnic groups in New Zealand.
Young people are fed up with the Mexican wave effect, spotlighting the tragedies of another life lost and continuously putting the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff for matters that are literally, life threatening.
If we take a minute to consider the Covid-19 pandemic, it has caused a massive ripple effect across the entire world and has taken many lives globally. However, I can no longer count on my fingers how many friends and young people in our community have lost their lives to suicide and yet, I do not know anyone who has tested positive for Covid-19.
Being grateful, even for the little things, goes a long way. We learn over time tools and techniques to deal with challenges and the hurdles in life. Sadly, some pain becomes familiar but with our kete (basket) full we become resilient, not only for ourselves but our whanau (family).
Building resilience within our young people is key. "Life is like a rollercoaster."
Understanding this concept took me 19 long years, I always said it and never really believed it until one day it hit me.
Life does have its ups and downs and you've got to learn how to deal with it better. Now, when my life feels really good, I wonder what's coming next and I actually think of things that may go wrong then, when it happens, I can recognise it and acknowledge it. This helps me deal with it and move on and get back up on that rollercoaster, kinda like yin and yang.
Let's keep building our rangatahi up, their spirits enriched and fuelled with positive wairua (energy) and you will receive it in return.
• Anahera Pickering is community outreach co-ordinator at Whangārei Youth Space. She can be contacted at Anahera@youthspace.co.nz
If you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.
Or if you need to talk to someone else:
• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• Suicide crisis helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 Tautoko) (available 24/7)
• Youthline: 0800 376 633
• Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 (available 24/7)
• Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• Depression helpline: 0800 111 757.