Today is World Suicide Prevention Day and two well known radio hosts are calling on Kiwi blokes to have courageous conversations with their mates about the hard stuff.
The Edge's Jono Pryor and his good mate Bryce Casey from The Rock have worked with the Mental Health Foundation on a suicide prevention video called #yougoodmate.
World Suicide Prevention Day is a day to recognise the part we all have in preventing suicide, to remember those we have lost to suicide and support the loved ones they've left behind.
Jono and Bryce’s good friend Tim died by suicide earlier this year and they’re encouraging everyone, particularly men, to talk about the hard stuff before it gets too big.
“Before Tim’s death, our group of friends didn’t really talk much, which is probably quite indicative of a lot of New Zealand males I’d imagine. But now, we’re a lot more open, frank in our discussions, keep in contact more and talk about a lot of stuff that we never would have talked about, and I know that’s helped people,” Jono says.
Bryce says asking for help or asking a mate if they need help is not a sign of weakness – it’s the bravest thing you can do, and it’s about being a good mate.
“It’s alright to not be alright, it’s one of those things some people think they have to keep in, that they might come across as soft or needy if you’re not feeling alright,” Bryce says.
Bryce and Jono are urging people to speak up if they’re worried about someone.
“Trust your gut and go with it, if you’re wrong [that someone’s thinking about suicide] that’s probably best case scenario,” Jono says.
Often people don’t ask direct questions like, ‘are you thinking about suicide’, because they’re worried they won’t know how to help.
“If they do give you that answer of ‘nah man, I’m actually really battling bro’, you don’t have to do it all yourself and fix it,” Bryce says.
“You can work with your mates to formulate a plan, keep in contact with the person, you can just be sending texts or catching up a little bit more often than usual, even just that little boost can really help someone, and talking to experts is a really good thing to do,” Jono says.
Mental Health Foundation chief executive Shaun Robinson says having courageous conversations with mates is one of the toughest but most important things you can do.
“Opening up is a big part of being a good mate,” Mr Robinson says.
“When I go through times of feeling depressed and anxious, my self-stigma about being weak still runs strong and that’s scary. But every time I tell people I’m not feeling so good it’s a huge relief; it helps me to recover more quickly, I get kindness and support from heaps of people and I’m blown away at how many other blokes from all walks of life tell me about their experiences.”
If you would like to support the Mental Health Foundation and its #yougoodmate video, text MATE to 2446 for an automatic $3 donation.
NOTE: Jono and Bryce are not available for interviews.
For further information, please contact:
Communications and Marketing Manager
Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand
021 740 454
For more information about suicide prevention, see www.mentalhealth.org.nz/suicideprevention
For more information on suicide reporting, see www.mentalhealth.org.nz/media
Note to journalists: Please ensure all coverage of these statistics includes information about suicide prevention and reference to accurate and appropriate helplines. These can be found at www.mentalhealth.org.nz/media
The Mental Health Foundation’s list of recommended helplines is below. All services are available 24/7.
Need to talk? – 1737. Free call or text 1737 to talk to a trained counsellor, anytime.
Lifeline – 0800 543 354 (0800 LIFELINE)
Samaritans – 0800 726 666
Youthline – 0800 376 633. Free text 234 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Healthline – 0800 611 116
For more information about support and services available to you, contact the Mental Health Foundation's free Resource and Information Service on 09 623 4812 during office hours or email email@example.com