‘We want to aim for no more suicides’
Following the high-profile success of the Shoe Project, a regional suicide trust is hoping for widespread regional participation in World Suicide Prevention Day on Sunday.
Life Matters Suicide Prevention Trust chairwoman Corinda Taylor is encouraging those affected by, or working in sectors dealing with, suicide across the wider Otago region, to gather in Dunedin for a special event at the city’s St Paul’s Cathedral this weekend.
The day will mark the conclusion at Parliament of the Shoe Project’s nationwide tour of 579 pairs of shoes representing the 579 Kiwi lives lost to suicide from June 2015 to June 2016, with its own ‘‘impact statement’’, Taylor said.
The latest statistics from the Coroner’s Office show an increase in suicide deaths to 606 for 2016-17.
Life Matters and fellow participating organisations will be placing 606 pairs of shoes on the steps of St Paul’s, in advance of a two-hour event beginning in the cathedral at 6pm.
The cathedral will be lit by 606 candles, in a further commemoration of those lost, she said.
‘‘It’s often quite an emotional event for those taking part,’’ Taylor said.
‘‘But alongside the sadness and memories, we place an emphasis on the help and support available, and our shared drive for change.’’
A trio of guest speakers underpin the cathedral event, with an opportunity for those affected by suicide to tell their stories in a respectful environment.
‘‘We’re delighted to welcome our guest speakers on Sunday, all of whom have their own personal stories of intervention, recovery, and hope to share with the audience.
‘‘We’ll also have a range of musical and other performances during the evening.’’
On Monday, Taylor will go on to form part of an extensive delegation flying to Wellington to lobby Government for effective change to tackle New Zealand’s ‘‘unacceptably high’’ rates of suicide.
‘‘We want to aim for no more suicides,’’ she said.
‘‘We’d like to see a reduction in mental health waiting lists, improved early intervention, and better training for all frontline staff in the health, social work and other sectors.
‘‘We need the Government to establish an urgent mental health inquiry, and set a target for suicide of zero.’’
Corinda Taylor is encouraging participation in World Suicide Prevention Day in Dunedin on Sunday.