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Depression and Greg Boyed's Suicide

Date: 27 Aug 18

Author: Jimmy Nicks


This is a vaping website and my job is to talk about vaping. But sometimes other issues are that important they need to cross borders, such as Greg Boyed's suicide.


New Zealand is an immature nation when it comes to issues such as gender equality, domestic violence and suicide. Too often those who are not directly affected, sit in their comfort zone, playing the politically correct commentator, using a tragedy as a talking point, rather than coming together as a community knowing we are all part of the problem.


Most people including myself didn't know Greg personally. But you will know someone like him. Or you used to.


More than 12 people die every week by suicide in New Zealand. That's a lot of talking points, in a lot of cafes.


Yes, we are aware. We have all seen the John Kirwin ads. Yet the suicide rate since 2015 has increased each year. The rate of 16 suicides per 100,000 people is twice as high as the US rate and almost five times that of Britain. So as fantastic as awareness campaigns appear, they are competing in the same space as beer adverts, sound bites and all sorts of other media designed for people to get a quick fix and move on.


Suicide in New Zealand is not moving on. Governments for years have pumped money into mental health, yet over two-thirds of people who commit suicide have never come into contact with mental health services in New Zealand. The stigma of being labelled mentally ill makes asking for help too scary for the majority of people who end their lives prematurely.


The problem is not awareness. Most of us know it's a problem. But do we care it's a problem? Or are we too busy, too self-concerned, too dedicated to a quick fix, and something new to talk about?


We need to be collectively responsible. We aren't all equipped to deal with people who have depression, but most of us our are equipped to be kind. And sometimes that is all it takes. Don't just be aware. If you think someone isn't quite themselves or seems at risk try and help them. Be proactive, and be as kind as you can. You just might save a life.


Where to get help:


Talk to someone. If no one is available, try one of the below. They work.


• LIFELINE: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• SUICIDE CRISIS HELPLINE: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633
• NEED TO TALK? Free call or text 1737 (available 24/7)
• KIDSLINE: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• WHATSUP: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757

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