Samaritans will take part in HopeWalk Wellington, a free event being held to raise awareness for suicide prevention, on Saturday 9 September.
Nineteen cities are holding HopeWalks on different dates around New Zealand this year as part of Pastor Joseph Fa'afiu's vision to increase suicide awareness.
The HopeWalk movement gives individuals, families and communities that have been affected by suicide a place to connect with others who have also lost loved ones to suicide.
HopeWalk was formed to highlight the existing organisations and agencies that provide suicide prevention, intervention and postvention support.
Suicide is a leading cause of death in New Zealand. There are significantly more deaths each year from suicide than from motor vehicle accidents. The Chief Coroner’s latest annual report shows that 606 people took their own lives between July 2016 and June 2017.
New Zealand also has the highest rate of teen suicide in the OECD. Unicef’s Innocenti Report found New Zealand’s rate for teen suicides (15-19) was the highest of the 41 OECD and European Union countries included.
This year’s theme for World Suicide Preventation Day (10 September) is Take a minute, change a life. “HopeWalk raises awareness of those who have lost their lives to suicide and the terrible effect it has on family and friends, Samaritans Chair Peter Barker said. “We need to take time and be aware of those around us because doing so may change someone’s life. Remember that we are talking about people, not just statistics."
Samaritans is dedicated to suicide prevention and the alleviation of loneliness and depression which can lead to it. Samaritans provides a 24/7 helpline service offering confidential, non-religious, non-judgmental support to anyone who may be feeling depressed, lonely or suicidal.
Last year Samaritans took over 30,000 calls from New Zealanders who needed someone to talk to.
HopeWalk Wellington starts at 11.30am at the Dell in the Botanic Gardens, Tinakori Road, Wellington irrespective of the weather. There will be a flat 15 minute walk for elders, disabled adn those with pushchairs and a 30 minute hilly main walk. Both walks start and finish at The Dell.
If you are interested in joining the Samaritans walking group please contact Jo on firstname.lastname@example.org