Child abuse. Poverty. Suicide. Our shockingly high rates of all three are a condemnation of this country. Following the release of data by the Chief Coroner, suicide is once again getting some time in the headlines:
PM promises to combat suicide
The government is seeking answers on how to best combat the country’s high suicide rates.
Chief Coroner Judge Neil MacLean has released provisional figures for the 2010-2011 year – showing young men and Maori are most at risk. 419 males died as a result of suicide from last July through to June this year, compared with 139 females.
Prime Minister John Key wonders what is going wrong.
Key is not the first to wonder, and there’s plenty of good material about (some from the previous government) if anyone fancies learning more about the subject. But note also this very interesting fact out of Christchurch:
Quake zone ‘cohesion’ cuts suicide rate
The reduction in the Christchurch suicide rate after the city’s deadly February earthquake has been attributed to people’s increased senseof “community cohesion” from the disaster. …
Psychiatric epidemiologist Professor David Fergusson, of Otago University at Christchurch, said there was some evidence that an area’s suicide rate either remained stable or temporarily declined after a natural disaster.
“This may be due to greater community cohesion and a sense of shared purpose, which is protective for those contemplating suicide.
“People who are facing natural disasters become part of a larger community which gives them far greater support and assistance than they would have got had the disaster not occurred.
“Their neighbours speak to them, they can join in the community, they can help others.
Community cohesion. A sense of purpose. (A job.) The suggestion that things give people hope, make it less likely for them to take their own lives, makes perfect sense to me. (Compare and contrast with the cult of the individual and the acquisition of junk.) Every party, every aspiring government, every politician, should be asked to set out what it is that they would do to build cohesion, purpose and communities in our country.