IN answer to your article which is helping to battle suicide, I felt l had to tell you about our problems with my son (Myles Kirkwood) who committed suicide five years ago in Christchurch.

Unfortunately, we were unaware that he had a problem, as he never told the family, and his wife kept it a secret — so we had no idea until the police came to tell us that he had died by accident in a fire in the sleep-out at home. It wasn't until three weeks after his death that we were told that he had taken his own life.

1. To prevent suicide you must talk to family, friends and spouses — one person alone can't help.

2. Get professional help. They went to a doctor once, but had no follow-up.

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3. Do not withdraw yourself or hide away like my son did. He told his wife not to tell anyone so she didn't — to his detriment.

4. There is nothing to be ashamed of. It's an illness — as any other illness.

5. Keep doing things you like doing and exercise.

Myles left a wife and six dependent children.

There are extremely helpful resources that I wish Myles and his wife had seen. One good example is the book "Living with a Black Dog" by Matthew and Ainsley Johnstone. It is a good name for depression.

Living with someone who has that feeling of the Black Dog is very difficult. There should also be more ads on TV — more time given to depression, so more people know about it.

JENNIE KIRKWOOD
Whanganui


Arrogant tirade

Jay Kuten (Chronicle, July 10) accuses Harete Hipango of arrogance in her opposition to the euthanasia bill.

It would be difficult to find anyone more arrogant in the comments he expressed in his column today. How dare he criticise anyone for expressing their views either for, or against on this issue? He needs to accept that everyone has a right to an opinion — MP or not.

The fact that she is an MP should not preclude her from having the same right. Harete Hipango did not deserve the tirade he so arrogantly expressed.

V. MEREDITH
Whanganui


Women assaulting men

Congratulations to Steve Hansen for speaking out on domestic violence (Chronicle, July 8 ) in that it is not a gender thing because women assault males too.

This startling revelation is not new. The founder of Women's Refuge, Erin Pizzey, said the same thing in 1971.

A major study in the US led by Susan Steinmetz was published as a book, Behind Closed Doors, in 1980. Terry Moffitt, with the Dunedin Multidisciplinary study, proposed the same as did David Fergusson with the Christchurch study.

Felicity Goodyear-Smith, Auckland University, has also published widely, describing mutual and relationship violence. It is disappointing that over 50 years little has changed in perceptions of domestic violence. Perhaps programmes such as Snapped and 60 Minutes may change some views.

The comment by Women's Refuge that such comments damage everything are ill-founded.
While they have a part to play in supporting women victims, there is much more to be done to address family violence and relationship issues.

Unfortunately, Women's Refuge statistics will not change until the wider issue is addressed.

ROB THOMSON
Registered social worker, Parapara


Scammers escape scrutiny

Today I received this call that begins with a recorded message, supposedly from Spark, advising me that my phone, internet and everything else will be cut off unless I ...

However, I am not with Spark; it's clearly a scam. What to do? I know, I'll ring the police. It's been in the news, the police want to know.

Ho ho, no they don't. Charlotte tells me they aren't interested unless I have actually been ripped off. Hello, surely it's preferable to catch the scammers before that happens. She says they can't trace the computer-generated calls. Really? Our police are so technically backward that the crims have the upper hand?

Is it that, or is it a placement of resources? Is it a bureaucratic decision to wait until the crime is committed rather than prevention? So when will our police become technically savvy enough to catch the culprits at first base?

DENISE LOCKETT
Whanganui


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