Suicide Prevention – What The Latest Stats Tell Us
With the international focus today on suicide prevention, we are reminded to be aware of this issue which is increasing alarmingly worldwide. New Zealand is certainly not exempt from this terrible trend but in some cases, we are at the top extreme.
According to the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), for each suicide, approximately 135 people suffer intense grief or are otherwise affected. #WSPD – World Suicide Prevention Day.
Overall, in 2019 New Zealand’s suicide rate has hit the highest level since records began. 668 deaths in this year (to June) is 17 more than last year – a rate of 13.93 per 100,000 people, compared to 13.67 per 100,000 in 2018.
Even more concerning is the Unicef report which found New Zealand’s youth suicide rate – teenagers between 15 and 19 – to be the highest of a long list of 41 OECD and EU countries. The rate of 15.6 suicides per 100,000 people is twice as high as the US rate and almost five times that of Britain.
How I’m Enough Works For Suicide Prevention
I’m Enough has long been focused on building the mental resilience of young people in particular, and now even more so than ever. Our founder Cathy Mellet has a wealth of experience helping young people in their struggle for mental resilience and is deeply entrenched in the world of digital technology. As such, Cathy has a strong focus on the role this can play in the lives of teens and their families.
I’m Enough’s CEO Sonja C Weilbach has a strong background in community care in addition to her business acumen. Sonja holds qualifications in Accounting, Psychology, Theology, and has a Post Graduate in Management. This puts her in a unique position of understanding the psychological implications of today’s digital world as well as having the business skills to run the charity successfully as CEO.
Cathy and Sonja together, with the input of a team of dedicated professionals, are addressing the effect of social media and allied technology on our youth. The biggest focus for I’m Enough is to start the conversation between family members and friends about mental health, to stop the problem before it starts.
It is becoming better and better understood how immersion in a digital world and Social Media, in particular, can create…
- Digital anxiety
- Loss of self-esteem
- A sense of isolation
- The pressure to be perfect all of the time
…in all people, but most acutely for those in their teens, who have a more intimate struggle with self-esteem in general on a daily basis. This is only exacerbated with the wrong exposure to the digital world, and can and does result in mental illness and, in extreme cases, teenage suicide.
Life online is increasing. Real life opportunities and interaction are decreasing. This reduces mental health resilience and the ability to deal with stress, anxiety, emotional situations and emotional pain. Rebuilding that mental strength to help young people cope with the world today is of upmost importance.
I’m Enough seeks to intervene in the prevalence of youth suicide in the following ways:
- Raising awareness of the concerns
- Providing highly useful information around all the issues
- Educating teens and their families about digital coping strategies
- Offering a list of NZ resources to contact for help and suicide support
What Can You Do To Contribute Towards Suicide Prevention?
If you have children, no matter how well adjusted you believe them to be, I’m Enough is a valuable resource you should keep in your arsenal. If you know anyone, friend or family, who is struggling to cope with their digital health or online social environment, we urge you to reach out to them now. You may be the one who plays a vital role in the suicide prevention of a loved one.
We are passionate about sharing digital coping strategies and creating areas of resilience to reduce the impacts of the digital world on anxiety and stress levels. Please make use of our website to help you have a down to earth discussion that may support someone who is struggling to cope.
What are some of the things you can do with your child today to #starttheconversation?
- Have they ever felt isolated?
- Have they ever wanted to self-harm, or induce in other self-destructive behaviour, including suicide?
No matter the answer, the conversation between parent and child surrounding mental health should always be an open one. Start the conversation with those close to you today. If every parent had this discussion with their child today, tomorrow would be a brighter place. Talking about mental wellbeing in one’s family should be part of daily life and conversation. We need to normalise the concept of healthy discussion between people who are close with one another concerning mental health and happiness.
If you are a young person, you have the ability to start the conversation and make a difference too. You might find Teen Ambassador Ben’s video helpful.
If your parents haven’t brought this up, it doesn’t mean they don’t want to talk. They might just be waiting for you to come to them too. Don’t be afraid to break those boundaries down and get talking about your mental wellbeing.
We would encourage you to carry our central message that “I’m Enough” to young people around you. Together we can all become an essential part of teen suicide prevention in our communities and beloved country. Seek to intervene and support self-belief and mental resilience.
You are enough. You are so enough it is unbelievable how enough you are. #imenough
See more of our I’m Enough videos here.