13 Oct 2017

Time to Talk, say Māori rangatahi

8:45 pm on 13 October 2017

A group of Māori rangatahi have a message - and they want you to hear it. The young Māori leaders, many who grew up together in Rotorua, have united in calling for New Zealanders to talk about mental health and suicide.

Some of the young Maori leaders who voiced a video calling for Kiwis to talk about mental health and suicide.

Some of the young Māori leaders who voiced the video. Photo: SCREENSHOTS

Together they have created a moving video, Time To Talk, to coincide with Mental Health Awareness week. It was posted on Monday, and has since been viewed more than 100,000 times.

Watch the video:

Their voices cut through the silence, the stigma of mental health problems in our country and emphasise the importance of communication.

Te Mahara Swanson Hall is a 19-year-old commerce and Māori student at Victoria University in Wellington.

While sitting in one her classes she thought about mental health awareness week, and the problems affecting her community in Rotorua.

"One of the boys from another high school committed suicide at the start of last year and that really hit home for a lot of us ... that was something that sparked the motivation to put something together," she said.

She wrote the script, enlisted the help of young Māori social influencers to voice it, and put it together with the help of friend Finn Caroll.

Feedback from the video has been overwhelming.

"I wanted to generate conversation in a country which is so amazing for lots of different things," she said.

New Zealand has the highest youth suicide rate per capita in the developed world, and our most recent annual suicide toll was the worst on record - 606 people.

"But when it comes to mental health issues no one really talks about it and I think it's important that it is necessary for our country to talk about otherwise we wouldn't have the shocking statistics we do."

Jordyn Tereu, an Otago University student is a friend of Te Mahara's.

She was depressed when studying at high school and said she didn't know who to turn to as depression had never been discussed within her whanau.

"It's very hard to try and speak up because half the time the people don't actually understand how they feel or why they're feeling like that."

With a better understanding of depression, Jordyn felt she could help others facing the same struggle.

"If I can go through something so dark and be able to find support and friends and family no matter how big or small maybe I can try and be the same network for other people."

She has had young people from around the motu sharing their stories with her after watching the video.

Kuratea Broughton was another friend from Rotorua who Te Mahara called upon to be a part of her project.

He lost one of his friends to suicide and the death was a challenging time for the community.

The ripple effect of his friend's suicide was felt right across the community, he said.

Kuratea has moved away from home to Auckland to study biomedical science.

He said it was a time in a young person's life that could be difficult and encouraged his peers to look out for their mates and check in to see if they're ok.

"It doesn't take much to say hello to someone that you know, it doesn't take anything out of your day but it makes someone's day.

"It makes sure that someone knows that people are there and people care for them."

Where to get help:

Need to Talk? Free call or text 1737 any time to speak to a trained counsellor, for any reason.

Lifeline: 0800 543 354

Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 / 0508 TAUTOKO (24/7). This is a service for people who may be thinking about suicide, or those who are concerned about family or friends.

Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757 (24/7)

Samaritans: 0800 726 666 (24/7)

Youthline: 0800 376 633 (24/7) or free text 234 (8am-12am), or email talk@youthline.co.nz

What's Up: online chat (7pm-10pm) or 0800 WHATSUP / 0800 9428 787 children's helpline (1pm-10pm weekdays, 3pm-10pm weekends)

Kidsline (ages 5-18): 0800 543 754 (24/7)

Rural Support Trust Helpline: 0800 787 254

Healthline: 0800 611 116

Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155

If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.

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