"Go kill urself hahahaha." That is just one of the comments sent to 15-year-old Alatauai Sasa in the months and weeks before her death.

The Wellington teenager took her own life on June 19, 2013, but more than four years on the words encouraging her to do it remain online for all to see.

Messages of support from friends dot the anonymous question site Qooh.me, but so do the comments telling Sasa the world is an awful place with her there, or telling her she deserved the bullying.

"Go kill yourself baby," said another message. "You're depressed . . . if you're depressed easiest thing is to escape this world. DO IT! xxx."


Sasa was rushed to hospital from her school, St Catherine's College, on the day of her death, but doctors were unable to revive her, coroner Peter Ryan said in his findings, released this week.

Sasa was identified by the school guidance counsellor the year before as being at risk of self-harm.

On top of the spiteful comments, Sasa had a difficult home life. She came to the guidance counsellor, struggling with having to be a police witness against a family member after a domestic violence incident.

It was eventually decided Sasa would stay at the guidance counsellor's home for a while to relieve her stress, but she remained "morbidly depressed" during that time, and returned home after 12 days.

Sasa told the counsellor about suicidal thoughts and active suicide plans, and an acute mental health assessment was carried out by Health Pasifika, which continued to follow up with Sasa over the following weeks.

By June 10, she had stopped taking her medication. The day before she took her life, Sasa told the guidance counsellor she was feeling fine.

"There were many and varied stressors in Alatauai's life," Ryan said.

A home life coloured by domestic violence and addiction was well known by staff at her school, and cyber-bullying came to the fore in late 2012.


After Sasa was bullied on a Facebook page, she became "moody", according to her mother.

She would stay in her room and hardly eat, the coroner's report said.

Sasa had accounts set up on two websites in which people could post anonymous questions for her to answer. One was Qooh.me and the other was Ask.fm.

She would respond sarcastically to comments - one poster asked if she had killed herself, "mrs queen of depression".

"I totes did. I'm replying from heaven even," she replied.

The bullying only came to light after her death. A report from the psychiatrist caring for her around that time does not reference discussing any such incidents with her.

"It therefore appears that Alatauai kept this matter to herself," the coroner said.

Although nobody knew about it, it was "reasonable to infer that this had a seriously deleterious effect on her already-compromised mental health state", he said.

The professional and personal support and care the guidance counsellor gave Sasa was "extraordinary", Ryan said.

She "clearly went beyond the call of duty", he said.

He was satisfied the school had an appropriate attitude and policy around bullying.

Child Youth and Family acknowledged during the inquest that best practice would have involved a greater level of communication between the social worker and Sasa with regards to the impending trial in which she would be a witness against her family member.

Since her death, social work staff in Wellington were provided with training related to suicide, identifying risks in young people, and the use of screening tools available.

A failure to implement a suicide prevention programme was "a lost opportunity to support Alatauai".

Sasa ended her life because of "enormous stressors" in her daily life, Ryan said, and appeared to be most affected by the domestic violence incident.

If nurses and social workers were resident in high schools it would enhance the ability of schools to support their students, Ryan suggested, and recommended the Ministry of Health arrange for such nurses to be placed in or associated with all high schools.

Netsafe spokesman Sean Lyons urged parents or young people dealing with online bullying to contact Netsafe for help and advice.

"The Harmful Digital Communications Act 2015 was introduced in New Zealand to prevent and reduce the impact of online bullying and other forms of abuse and intimidation.

"We can use mediation, negotiation and persuasion to reach a resolution between parties, or request the removal of content by online content hosts."

The act covers online bullying, harassment, revenge porn and other forms of abuse and intimidation.

A digital communication may be deemed harmful if it:
Is directed at an individual; and
makes that person seriously emotionally distressed; and
it has or could seriously breach of one or more of the 10 communication principles in the act.

The 10 communication principles
The 10 principles say that a digital communication should not:
• Disclose sensitive personal facts about a person;
• Be threatening, intimidating, or menacing;
• Be grossly offensive;
• Be indecent or obscene;
• Be used to harass a person;
• Make a false allegation;
• Breach confidences;
• Incite or encourage anyone to send a deliberately harmful message;
• Incite or encourage a person to commit suicide; and
• Denigrate a person's colour, race, ethnic or national origins, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability.

Where to get help

If you need to talk to someone, the following free helplines operate 24/7:

LIFELINE: 0800 543 354
NEED TO TALK? Call or text 1737
SAMARITANS: 0800 726 666
YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633 or text 234

There are lots of places to get support. For others, click here.

Break the silence:

New Zealand has the second worst youth (25 and under) suicide rate in the developed world and the worst teen (15-19) suicide rate.

The annual rates have remained largely unchanged for around two decades.

Provisional figures released by the Chief Coroner in August showed that, overall, a record 606 people died by suicide in New Zealand in 2016/17, up from 579 the year before.

The New Zealand Herald this year launched a special series about youth suicide called Break The Silence. It covered the causes, including cyberbullying, asked why many people feel they can't talk about the issue and suggested solutions.

Over six weeks we published more than 65 stories.

The series made international headlines and ignited a national conversation, as the Health Minister, Education Minister and Prime Minister's chief science adviser acknowledged we, as a nation, haven't done enough.

Read the Herald's full series tackling suicide, Break the Silence, here