Two young women want to spread messages of hope and positivity as a "weapon" against suicide.

New Zealand has one of the highest overall suicide rates in the developed world with more than 600 Kiwis taking their own life in the 2016-17 year.

Church friends Sarah Lee, 28 and Tina Kim, 26 - both Koreans - is launching a "Happy Pull" campaign - distributing stickers with messages such as "push doubt away", "pull trust in" and "pull in courage".

Lee said she got the idea during a recent trip back to South Korea, which has the 10th highest suicide rate in the world and highest among OECD member states.


Suicide hit home for Lee when one of her student, who is in her early 20s, tried multiple times to end her life.

"Life is a precious gift from God, so I cannot understand how someone with such a promising future can think of ending her own life," Lee said.

Talking to her student, Lee discovered the cause was depression, family problems and a lack of hope.

"She was so focused on her problems that she cannot see or feel any positivity around her," Lee said.

"What shocked me was that this isn't her first time, and she has tried to take her life several times even when she was a teenager."

Lee said five people she knew personally have tried to commit suicide.

New Zealand has the highest rate in the OECD for 15 to 19-year-olds.

A Ministry of Health survey found 11.8 per cent of 15 to 24-year-olds are affected by psychological stress and having "high or very high probability of anxiety or depressive disorder".


Kim said the stickers would give a "direct reminder" of positivity around them.

"When you are feeling depressed and thinking of ending it all, you need direct reminders that there is hope," Kim said.

"We hope the stickers will not only bring positivity for those who see them, but also spur them to do positive actions for others."

The two women are in the process of recruiting people for the campaign, and plan to distribute the stickers to schools, clubs and other places where young people hang out.

"We hope the stickers and messages they hold can be used as a weapon against suicide," Kim added.

The Government's draft plan to reduce suicide went out for public consultation last year.

A spokesman said following the formation of the inquiry into mental health and addiction, the plan to develop a cross-government mental health strategy is on hold.

He said the ministry is in the final stages of analysing about 500 submissions received on the draft suicide strategy.

A summary of the submissions and work to date will be given to the inquiry panel.


• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 - Provides 24 hour telephone counselling

• Youthline: 0800 376 633 or free text 234 - Provides 24 hour telephone and text counselling services for young people

• Samaritans: 0800 726 666 - Provides 24 hour telephone counselling.

• Tautoko: 0508 828 865 - provides support, information and resources to people at risk of suicide, and their family, whānau and friends.

• Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (noon to 11pm)

• Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (4pm - 6pm weekdays)

• The Lowdown: - website for young people ages 12 to 19.

• National Depression Initiative - (for adults), 0800 111 757 - 24 hour service

If it is an emergency or you feel you or someone you know is at risk, please call 111

For information about suicide prevention, see