The rate of suicide for the Whanganui district is higher than the national average and has been since statistics began being recorded in 2007.
Now, the district is doing something about it.
The Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) is sponsoring a suicide prevention strategy for the Whanganui, Rangitīkei and Ruapehu districts.
WDHB has partnered with Te Oranganui Trust and Healthy Families Whanganui who will work together to have the strategy completed by July 2020.
Healthy Families' Marguerite McGuckin is the project manager for the co-design of the strategy and said community input would be the key to ensuring its success.
"It's a community strategy. We want a community voice, we want their input and we want them to tell us what it is that they need," McGuckin said.
"I'm not asking people to share what happened, I just want to know what was missing at the time, what they needed and what else could have been done."
The national average of provisional suicide deaths per 100,000 people between July 2007 and June 2018 is 11.23.
Whanganui's average per 100,000 for the 2017/2018 year is 19.
Those involved in developing the strategy, including six staff members from Healthy Families will begin visiting different areas of the community in August.
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These areas will include local marae where kōrero will take place with local iwi, schools including te kōhanga reo, popular buildings such as libraries and more.
"It's going to be a multi-pronged approach, we'll have one-on-ones and there will be group discussions within each region," McGuckin said.
"This is the first strategy of its kind. There are some eyes on us and we're going to do everything that we can to ensure that it is going to work for our people."
Born in Lower Hutt, McGuckin travelled the country looking for her whakapapa, which she eventually found in Whanganui.
She has a background in health and education, having studied a bachelor of education at Massey University in Palmerston North.
McGuckin joined Healthy Families about three months ago, wanting to better her community, that her children and mokopuna are a part of.
WDHB chief executive Russell Simpson identified that a new community-focused strategy was needed to replace the current interim suicide prevention and postvention plan.
"The DHBs usually write the strategies, but that approach isn't working," McGuckin said.
"One suicide is too many. Regardless of whether or not it's higher than the national average, there needed to be something different done."
In 2017/18, the New Zealand suicide rates increased for a fourth year, with statistics showing that Māori, males and those aged 20-24 were at the highest risk.
The first hui for the strategy was well-attended at Te Oranganui where Simpson made it clear that this strategy was not just for Whanganui, but rural areas as well.
Simpson said he was put under pressure about the 12 month timeframe set out to gather information and prepare the strategy.
"True consultation and co-design from the community, I believe, takes that time, so we will make sure the rural [areas] are absolutely captured," he said.
"Let's not hide behind the fact that suicide is an issue for our community."
Strategy developers would like to hear from anyone who wants to share their thoughts on suicide or has lived experience of suicide loss or suicide attempt.
More information on where to meet with those developing the strategy can be found on the Healthy Families Whanganui, Rangitīkei, Ruapehu Facebook page.
Where you can 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 111.
If you need to talk to someone, the following free helplines operate 24/7:
DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757
LIFELINE: 0800 543 354
SAMARITANS: 0800 726 666
YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633 or text 234
1737 NEED TO TALK? Call or text 1737