Suicide shoe roadshow begins
Pairs of shoes - 579 of them marking the Kiwi lives lost to suicide in a year provided a poignant backdrop at Cape Reinga for the launch of a roadshow which will end on the steps of Parliament.
Jimi Horne, held a pair of his mate Lez’s shoes, while sharing the story of his loss.
It marked the beginning of roadshows from the tip of the North Island and Bluff in the very south on August 26 - they will eventually meet to place shoes on the steps of Parliament on International Suicide Prevention Day on September 10.
Horne says he was stunned by his idol Lez’s death.
‘‘He had seven children and he loved his wife so much,’’ Horne says.
‘‘He would say ‘gotta go see my wifey’. He had many friends that looked up to him.’’
While Horne, who is from Whangarei but lives in Kerikeri, says there needs to be more prevention work done, there also needs to be more support for those who are left behind, he says.
‘‘My experience was that after [he died] almost everyone had a story to tell, but no one talked about it before then.
‘‘I have a duty to do anything I can to prevent it happening to someone else so here I am.
‘‘It might only be 570 people, which might not be many in the size of the population, but each one of those people, and the number of people affected by it is phenomenal.’’
At several locations throughout the country, those bereaved by suicide will share their stories, while holding a pair of their loved ones shoes.
The events are organised by Yes We Care, a health funding coalition of community groups, health service-users/patients and their families as well as people working in health.
They are campaigning for the Government to hold an independent mental health inquiry and set a suicide reduction target.
The 579 pairs of shoes represented the lives of New Zealanders who died from suicide from June 2015 - June 2016, according to data from the Coroner’s Office.
That number has risen to 606 for the 2016-17 year according to provisional data from Chief Coroner Judge Deborah Marshall, released on August 28.
Where to get help:
Lifeline (open 24/7) - 0800 543 354 Youthline (open 24/7) - 0800 376 633.
James Horne at Cape Reinga, holding a pair of his friend Lez’s boots, who died from suicide.