A 17-year-old has released a powerful video revealing how the suicide of a loved one left her feeling helpless and silenced.
The poem penned and voiced by Waikato's Imogen Watson sheds light on what it is like to facing to lose someone to suicide at such a young age.
It was posted on the Voices of Hope Facebook page this morning.
VOH is a non-profit organisation aimed at helping people struggling with mental illness.
"We brand those that take their own lives as selfish but those who run across a road to meet a car tragic. What's the difference?" Watson's poem reads.
"We are uneducated on suicide but have always been taught to look left, look right, look left again."
Watson told the Herald how the death of her close friend impacted her life and had an incredible ripple effect on others.
"Last year I lost somebody to suicide and it took a massive toll on not only me but everyone around me," she said.
Suicide was such a massive problem in New Zealand, especially among young people, but nobody was talking about it openly and it made it harder for young people to speak up, Watson said.
It was difficult to grieve when it felt like the truth was being pushed away, and at times she felt "helpless".
There needed to be better education and awareness in schools, Watson said.
"We [young people] are never taught coping mechanisms for issues we can't choose whether or not to have."
Mental illness does not discriminate, it affected people from all different walks of life, she said. There needed be to more of a focus on mental health.
"We are being let down."
Watching the emotional haka performed in her friend's honour at his funeral was hard.
There was a "heavy feeling" in her chest because there were so many people who loved him so much and he just could not see that.
"He was loved by his mother, loved by his friends and loved by everybody around him.
"He was just the most incredible person."
No matter how happy someone might seem people were going through their own things, she said.
Watson is speaking out hoping she can help others.
"If I can teach anybody anything it's that today might be a bad day, tomorrow has the opportunity for it to be better," she said.
"If you can just talk to somebody, tell somebody how you are feeling, then eventually things will look up.
"No matter how unloved you are feeling and no matter how hard it might seem there is a light at the end of the tunnel."
Suicide was never the answer, she said.
"If I can help one single person, I know I will be helping so many other people who love that one person.
"That's the saddest part, he was just so loved and he couldn't see it.
"To this day he is still so loved."
WHERE TO GET HELP:
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 or 09 5222 999 within Auckland (available 24/7)
• SUICIDE CRISIS HELPLINE: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633 ,free text 234 or email email@example.com or online chat.
• NEED TO TALK? Free call or text 1737 (available 24/7)
• KIDSLINE: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• WHATSUP: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757
• SAMARITANS – 0800 726 666.