Cloth­ing brand backs Life­line

Central Leader - - WHAT’S ON - HUGH COLLINS

An il­lus­tri­ous Auck­land cloth­ing brand which knows first hand the heartache of sui­cide is step­ping up to sup­port a men­tal health foun­da­tion.

Il­licit owner Steve Hodge is launch­ing a range of T-shirts on Wed­nes­day with all pro­ceeds go­ing to coun­selling ser­vice Life­line.

Hodge founded Il­licit in 1996 with friend and re­spected artist Martin Emond.

De­spite a suc­cess­ful in­ter­na­tional ca­reer, Emond took his own life in 2004 af­ter a long bat­tle with de­pres­sion.

Hodge said he was in­spired to raise money for Life­line af­ter hear­ing about broad­caster Mike Kings’ res­ig­na­tion from New Zealand’s sui­cide pre­ven­tion panel ear­lier in May.

King claimed the Govern­ment’s sui­cide pre­ven­tion strat­egy was ‘‘deeply flawed’’ and wrote a let­ter to the Min­istry of Health say­ing he was con­cerned about as­pects of the strat­egy.

On top of this Hodge said he was dis­mayed to hear of Life­line’s fi­nan­cial strug­gle to sur­vive.

Last year year the coun­selling ser­vice an­nounced it had enough money only to stay afloat an­other year, af­ter the Govern­ment re­fused to of­fer fi­nan­cial sup­port.

‘‘They lit­er­ally don’t spend a penny on some­thing as in­sane as kids killing them­selves,’’ Hodge said.

‘‘If sav­ing some kids’ lives is go­ing to cost money but not make any, the Govern­ment wont be in­ter­ested.’’

Hodge said this was the first time Il­licit has done any­thing for sui­cide aware­ness.

‘‘It was just a no-brainer be­cause of Martin’s death,’’ he said.

‘‘I knew I had the right art­work and prob­a­bly some good ideas I could give them [Life­line] for noth­ing.’’

‘‘Martin’s art­work al­ways has a time and a place and this is one of them.’’

The Life­line cloth­ing in­cludes t-shirts for $49.90 and hood­ies for $69.90.

From each pur­chase $10 will go to Life­line from the t-shirts and $15 from the hood­ies.

In March Il­licit also hon­oured fallen pi­lot Steve Askin by memo­ri­al­is­ing him in a se­ries of T-shirts.

Askin was killed in a he­li­copter crash while fight­ing fires on the Port Hills above Christchurch.

About 50 per cent of the T-shirt prof­its went to Askin’s fam­ily.

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