Sarah Ritchie-Warren believes staying silent about suicide does no good.

So she's hoping a HopeWalk in Whangarei will raise awareness and show people there is support.

"The walk is to raise awareness so people know they're not alone in the time of need. For families who are grieving and have lost someone to suicide it's for them to share their memories."

The Whangarei woman lost a cousin to suicide in 2011 when she was living in Invercargill and struggled to find any support.


So she created the support group Bereavement After Suicide South Island, and when she moved to Whangarei in 2013 she created a Northland branch of the group.

"It was a big thing and it was like why is this happening and there was no support for families after.

"They had AA for alcoholics, support for gamblers, grief support groups for stillborns and SUDI and other things like that."

HopeWalks, started by Auckland pastor Joseph Fa'afiu in 2015 as a way of breaking the stigma around suicide, are held around New Zealand and Australia.

Suicide statistics from June 2015 to June 2016 showed there were 21 suicides in Northland .

The Whangarei walk will be held on September 10, World Suicide Prevention Day, from 7pm to 8pm.

People are encouraged to wear yellow and black and bring torches or LED candles to shine at 8pm.

"We need to stop the stigma and the silence so that people will reach out. To show there's no shame to talk," Ms Ritchie-Warren said. "So many people have been affected by it and to know suicide rates are higher than the road toll is eye-opening."

The walk will start at the Canopy Bridge but the route is yet to be decided. So far 200 people have indicated they will be attending the walk.

For more information search HopeWalk Whangarei 2017 on Facebook.

Where to get help:
DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757 ¦LIFELINE: 0800 543 354 ¦NEED TO TALK? Call or text 1737 ¦SAMARITANS: 0800 726 666 ¦YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633 or text 234