Sui­cide shoe road­show be­gins

Northern News - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - BAY­LEY MOOR

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.

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