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The Suicide Debate

Filed under: General — Downunder @ 11:08 am Sat 1st September 2018

We knew it was bad, but not how bad.

Then the whispers started; four times as many men as women. The Clark Ministry wouldn’t be budged on making the figures public. Perhaps the previous government hadn’t been any better – I don’t know.

More than fifteen years ago we obtained by dubious means, the most recent figures. There was no hurry to be up to date and provisional figures were running about two years behind.

The media adopted various attitudes, from compliance with rules, to the high and mighty, or just don’t return the call.

Although we couldn’t actually reproduce them, we could give our opinion on them. Here is an old post 2002 suicide statistics. The internet made information more available. Unlike today a trail of breadcrumbs would eventually get you into the deep dark hole they were stored in rather than the direct link that is now available.

There was no political will. Why would there be. It was an issue they didn’t want to deal with, a growing problem they didn’t want to be held responsible for, and any reasonably informed MP would have been aware of the significant causes.

Even the process of agreeing to talk about suicide has been a disconcerting frolic in the sands of discontent, waiting for each debate to tire, and the next tide to wash away the most recent trail of footprints.

Then … Greg Boyed

It is an interesting intersection; I have no doubt many will be observing the response from within the media alongside the media response.

Nothing more needed to be said – you wouldn’t be able to shut them up. All the way from the top right down to the, “I never worked with Greg but … .”

And this is the essence. We’re processing a death.

When someone dies we need to process this. Funerals are as much for those left behind, perhaps even more so, than the recently departed. When it’s not a death of natural causes there is an investigation. Work deaths, road accidents, criminal investigations – suicide has in the past been a criminal investigation but as any competent detective would say, “Which judge in his right mind would sign a warrant for that?” (Or should I say Det Sgt as the quote is attributable to.)

So, we’re left to our own devices, our own investigation (outside of a Coroner’s hearing) and our own conclusion, our own resolution.

It’s easy to say, it’s depression rather than a reason. It’s a mental heath issue rather than a consequence of a current environment. And do we in our own mind sanitize this, to get away from the stigma, for our own peace of mind?

How does a child process this,

“He made the ultimate sacrifice for his own peace of mind.”

Interesting thought?

Glorify the casualties of peace?

To be hardened to death, engaged in that professional responsibility, has its obligations but in the age of the politically constricted and restrained we’re not permitted to do a good job. Whose job is it?

That is a much greater challenge for the media than their literary obligations to one of their own.

34 Responses to “The Suicide Debate”

  1. Ministry of Men's Affairs says:

    FYI, correspondence from one of our representatives to the Bay of Plenty Times journalist who wrote this piece published today.

    To Peter Williams, Bay of Plenty Times

    Dear Peter

    Good on you for challenging us to refer to suicide honestly rather than through euphemism. However, why do you think it is that your article, like nearly all others about suicide, studiously avoids the honesty of referring to the extent to which suicide is a male problem? Why is that your article, which actually considers yet another male suicide, failed to mention the 3:1 gender difference?

    Why do you think it is that our Ministry of Health in its Suicide Prevention Plan includes specific sections on reducing Maori suicide, LGBT suicide, youth suicide and self-harm behaviour (committed more by women) but includes absolutely no specific mention of reducing specifically male suicide even though the gender difference is far greater than any other demographic difference?

    It may be of interest to the public to be reminded that each year in NZ more men commit suicide than the total male and female road and homicide tolls combined. But where is the concern about this, and where are the resources to address the male suicide toll compared, for example, with the billions announced yesterday to reduce the road toll?

    Kind regards

  2. Downunder says:


    You can see the point at which his piece story turns to waffle …

    Truth always wins. If you report the facts you can never go wrong.

  3. mama says:

    The stand out thing for me in the stats was that a large portion of the men lost were employed and of the age common to relationship breakdown…nothing like doses of real life today to send you over the edge.

  4. Downunder says:

    In sociology and economics, the precariat (/prɪˈkɛəriət/) is a social class formed by people suffering from precarity, which is a condition of existence without predictability or security, affecting material or psychological welfare. The term is a portmanteau obtained by merging precarious with proletariat.

  5. mama says:

    ..or precarious plebs it seems. When they describe portmanteau it made me shudder….A STIFF leather travelling bag and opening in two equal parts… sounds like the ripping out of the very soul of man…very sad face + angry face as well an awl.

  6. Evan Myers says:

    I think that might be more like

    a word blending the sounds and combining the meanings of two others, for example motel or brunch.

  7. mama says:

    okay,,, precarious plebs sounds good though, I will be one of these any day, as opposed to the alternative.

  8. Evan Myers says:

    Here is one man’s perspective

    Not only is suicide a sin, it is the sin. It is the ultimate and absolute evil, the refusal to take the oath of loyalty to life. The man who kills a man, kills a man. The man who kills himself, kills all men; as far as he is concerned he wipes out the world. – G. K. Chesterton.

  9. mama says:

    This from Ms Polcuszak of PSA,

    “As the union for mental health, we know those working within the system are doing their best amid challenging circumstances.

    “We need well-resourced mental health and services, particularly targeting at-risk groups like Maori men.

    “But we also need social services in place that will enable people to seek help at an early stage – and that will address the socio-economic factors that contribute to suicidal behaviour.”

    When I looked at the stats I came up with the fact the the largest group were European Men who were employed … did they fall through the cracks yet again?

  10. Downunder says:

    The PSA is about 80% female in membership.

    If you look back a few years in previous posts, I put questions to its CEO and linked to various material on its website.

    All those linked to documents have been removed.

    Any media could have done the same thing. It was nothing more than rational questions about their activity.

    The obvious and correct answer is that they, like other Feminist groups, expect not to have to justify their demands.

    There is an unrealistic expectation to be insulated from explaining themselves or having this news published for the benefit of the public.

    It’s not the way a society functions and obviously it turns to being dysfunction.

    It’s not rocket science, it’s plain stupidity.

  11. mama says:

    Yeah, it really is getting stupid. I had no idea the PSA had been hijacked by women, now the lack of men in certain sectors has really come to roost with these ladies at the helm.

    The real/original feminists must be turning in their graves as the current wave are starting to shoot themselves in their mens’ loafer shoes…soon and silently employers will not have a bar or barge pole to do with any woman suspect of a snivel, womens’ rights’ groups’will start to get uncomfortable in their heated seats when they start to realise a backlash.

    Like you say send society down this current track and YOU WILL get DYSFUNCTION.
    The worry is how to protect the guys on the way down.

  12. Evan Myers says:

    Business last century was a very different process to what we have today.

    As a result of this many older men who might otherwise be happy to continue in business simply don’t bother.

    At the same you have the increasing attention of the IRD chasing debt. While child support produces less and less revenue the department is increasing pursuing student debt.

    The majority of large debt will be owned by female graduates.

    Watch that space.

  13. mama says:

    I love it,,, and the way they are pumping new cars and holidays to the fairer ( the fairer??) sex.

    I heard on some media the other day that there are alarming new stats for those who go bankrupt in that it was happening to under twenty five year olds,, I wonder how that stat played out.

  14. Downunder says:

    Finance companies have to take some of the blame.

    Recently I sat near a few adults probably in there 30s. I’m guessing two of the four were a separated couple.

    I listened to the guy on the phone adjusting his car loan to give the girl $800.00

    It’s that easy.

  15. Downunder says:

    This is copied from an editorial on Stuff. I’ve copied it rather than risk losing it.

    EDITORIAL: Of all the groups to experience high rates of suicide, one would not expect construction workers to be top of the list. But those received stereotypes … are arguably … part of the problem. 

    Many people will have been shocked or surprised by reporting from the Suicide Mortality Review Committee that showed the construction sector has the highest suicide rate of all industries in New Zealand. The committee found 6.9 per cent of suicides come from construction, putting it narrowly ahead of 6.8 per cent from farming and forestry. 

    Mental health among farmers and rural workers has become better understood in recent times. Young Farmers chief executive Terry Copeland talked in 2017 of the need for rural men to share their emotional stories. Young Farmers has organised “GoodYarn” wellness workshops to shine light on the subject of depression. 

    Farmers have talked about isolation, economic pressures and unpredictable weather as contributing factors to the rural mental health crisis. 

    * NZ now trying to understand alarming suicide rate in construction
    * Construction industry’s ‘toxic’ masculine culture blamed for high suicide rate
    * Why predicting suicide is a difficult and complex challenge
    * Pulled a sickie recently? Christchurch company encourages staff to take mental health days 
    * The strength of women in construction is ‘underestimated’ 
    * Farmer suicides highlight vulnerability as official figures rise for past year​

    Attention has now turned to construction. A report written for the Building Research Association of New Zealand (Branz) by Kate Bryson and Anne Duncan outlines several possible reasons why suicide rates are so high in this sector. 


    The most common response from those interviewed was that construction has a macho, bullying and homophobic culture. Respondents said phrases like “take a concrete pill and harden up” are commonplace, although they added that the bullying and harassment of apprentices that was once almost standard is now less tolerated. 

    Business owners are just as likely to suffer from “harden up” culture as employers, especially as so much status is invested in companies named after owners. 

    The sector’s boom-and-bust cycles also contribute to pressure and insecurity and are seen as an important contributing factor to high rates of depression. 

    Other factors include the prevalence of drug and alcohol use in the sector. The authors also identified that construction attracts “high-risk individuals” in part because of perceptions that it is a poor career path. They found that an intergenerational and ethnically-diverse workforce is another source of pressure when there is often an intolerance of diversity in workplaces.  

    There was also a sense, they learned, that “industry currently doesn’t know enough about what is going on and why”. Even some of the construction workers interviewed for the report seemed surprised by the high suicide rates, although others were not. 

    This report follows more detailed work in Australia that has produced similar findings. There, construction workers are six times more likely to die by suicide than in a workplace accident, and twice as likely to commit suicide as the general population. Lower-skilled workers are more at risk than professionals.

    In New Zealand, the next step is to study the coroner’s findings of suicide by construction workers between 2007 and 2017, reported to be 339 cases.

    It is important to move from the “why?” to the “what next?” As well as saving lives and avoiding tragedies, mental health awareness in the workplace can even have a positive economic benefit. Another finding from Australia is that for every dollar spent on mental health in the workplace, $2.30 is saved due to the increased productivity that comes with reduced absenteeism. 

    It is clear New Zealand is lagging far behind Australia when it comes to recognising and talking about a mental health crisis among construction workers. But the sector has begun to take important steps forward. Concrete pills are not enough. 

  16. Ministry of Men's Affairs says:

    Thanks for that Downunder @16. Note that the article nowhere mentions the word ‘men’ even though all the suicides by construction workers will have been men.

    And a report on high suicide rates by construction workers was done by two females who claimed that “the most common response from those interviewed” was about a “macho, bullying and homophobic culture” in the construction industry, i.e. what feminists call ‘toxic masculinity’. Well, of course that would be the most common response when feminists do such research because that’s the stuff they will ask about. Had they asked the workers about suffering from being thrown out of their homes and their role as fathers, about being criticized for working long hours and ‘never being there’ or otherwise being imperfect for their wives, about dealing with false allegations and vindictive protection orders, etc etc, then responses to those questions may well have been the most common ones.

  17. Evan Myers says:


    Brain dead and local chant-leader is not an argument.

  18. mama says:

    Poriruas’ six suicides..from article by RNZ..

    Five of the sudden deaths were of people under 30 and many of them had left high school only recently. The deaths have been referred to the coroner.

  19. mama says:

    This from the reporting of suicide in Media NZ report 2010

    Contributors to suicidal behaviour
    A wide range of factors may contribute to suicidal behaviour and suicide is often the result of
    an accumulation of risk factors (Ministry of Health, 2007). These include mental health
    problems such as depression and substance abuse (Collings & Beautrais, 2005), but also
    psychological or biological factors, life events, macro-level social problems, and exposure to
    suicidal behaviour. Exposure may occur because of suicidal behaviour by family members,
    friends or others in the local environment, as well as through the media (Beautrais, Collings,
    & Ehrhardt, 2005; Hawton & William, 2001). Cultural factors, institutional settings, the
    availability of methods of suicide within the physical environment and the media climate may
    also influence the ways in which risk factors may contribute to suicidal behaviour.

    Given that we are talking about a large body of men who commit suicide what might their factors described here be most likely to be.

  20. JustCurious says:

    Should not be too hard looking at statistics and compare rate of suicide since the DV Act has been in place.

    That would help isolate social impacts of the DV act.

    Downunder makes a good point re finance companies.

    They tend to make sure by the time your loan to them is serviced and fully paid, if ever, you cannot have another loan with any other bank and with interest rates up to 29% plus drummed up fees and charges beyond ridiculous anyone under their grasp with get a life insurance and run to commit suicide or get someone to fake a jobsite accident just so they can murder themselves in peace.

  21. mama says:

    MURRAYBACON 2014 from his thread then

    Government have been very careful to not consider the costs to society, economic and social, of men’s suicides. Dead men don’t talk, well their suicide notes do, just most people don’t listen to them. Bill Zeller Chris Mackney: suicide note at AVFM

  22. JustCurious says:

    these stats are for the US

    Between medication for kids (ritalin and others drugs inducing unbalance and psychological issues in young male children) and incarceration and so many other things that are so obvious they eluude most.


  23. mama says:

    #22… whoah JC,,, gotta go and and plant veg in the ground in the rain and that amde me relish the thought…thank you, I think… but I have heard some of these thing, suspected these things but to hear it like that, all in one go jus made me cry…adios

  24. JustCurious says:

    Apologies Mama…
    It is sad.
    deep inside we all know it.
    The hard thing is knowing what to do, if anything.

    Most times this knowledge only induces confusion,
    hurt, helplessness and depression
    knowing so much and yet being able to do so little.
    causes more pain than relief at knowing one ain’t mad.

    The sad thing is every one is on it.
    Same as the clergy long ago decided feminity
    and sensuality were the work of the devil

    Someone else decided long ago too that
    masculinity is the new threat.
    and victimhood the new black

    SO from the pediatrician to the lawmaker,
    everyone forfeits their own common sense
    and thus apply whatever fashion, policy or practice that keeps them fed.

    Gravy train made system.

    Next thing all boys will be circumcised with every year of growth (to prevent rape)
    or castrated ( to remove violence)

    testosterone is the threat.

    Adolescent male around pubescent and until 30 year of age will be the most important target.
    Feminist just cannot resist them. It’s their achille’s heel.
    Even a seasoned dyke will have a go.

    And the current policy is if it is seen as a threat it must be eradicated.

    Then if that fails,
    they will be introducing testosterone blockers in the water supply.

    Hang on, does fluoride not do that already?

    Here is what our gov says about — it is good for your teeth.

    yeah right…

    Rate of cancer has exploded.

    IQ generally is lower

    But no one tells us anything except it is good for your teeth (and the sad part is they do believe it-mind conrol).

    It does affect your thyroids, inhibits growth or accelerate lateral growth to fantastic heights, affect your ability to regulate so much of your body processes and hormone or chemical levels and balances, it’ not even funny.

    Induces depression

    And worse, at 40 you are bound to have your eyesight decrease rather radically.

    This is mainly because fluoride has to be mixed at night and sunlight affects it.
    But then water in your eyes can react to sunlight,

    Sounds stupid by nature works in mysterious way
    But People say it is normal with age…
    And we rush for prescription glasses

    From Jesse Ventura on Fluoride

    “I worry about it tremendously. We’re forever incorporating Nazi things into our lives. Fluoride in the water, that was originally done by the Nazis! I don’t particularly like anything the Nazis did too much, and they were the first ones to put fluoride in the water. They tell us, ‘Oh, it’s for your teeth’ and all that — well, isn’t that your parents’ job, to teach you how to brush your teeth and use mouthwash? Why do you need the government putting some type of chemical in your water? I don’t know if you know this [but] fluoride is the main component of Prozac! What you’ve got is people drinking Prozac-water. Well, what does Prozac do to you? It calms you and dumbs you down so you’re less emotional. There’s a reason for all that stuff; what do we need fluoride in our water for? There’s no reason whatsoever to put chemicals in our water.”

    I have just looked it up. Not sure about the Nazi claim but retrospectively, if Prozac is fluoride then the Nazi claim can be and is most likely true.

    “Does Prozac contains Fluoride?
    This question comes up all the time. Memes circle around which claim that fluoride is the active compound in rat poison, Prozac and what is in our water. To put it very simply, these are not all the same types of fluoride. There are many kinds of fluoride because the element fluorine creates a compound with just about any other element it binds to, resulting in all new things. For example, the most common type used to fluoridate our public water is fluorosilicic acid, a by-product of phosphate fertilizer manufacture. This is different than say, what is in toothpaste or mouthwash. That’s sodium fluoride. So, once and for all: does Prozac contain fluoride? The simple answer is yes. Prozac not only contains fluoride, Prozac is fluoride.”

    It is shameful that nowadays more scientific real facts are gathered from alternative sites than where scientists sit and debate. I guess science, statistics and all governments are now embodied religions.

  25. mama says:

    DeAR JUST CURIOUS,,you are the best information gathering fariend I could ever hope to have, you are the bomb of observation in a world gone mad, just curious you have the right name for the job you do,, thankyou.

  26. JustCurious says:

    Thanks Mama, warms my heart.

  27. Evan Myers says:

    I was reading a random article recently that stated that the largest group of male suicides in the US is construction workers.

    I had previously seen it quoted as being military, the number including both serving and active personnel.

  28. MurrayBacon says:

    There is a numerical mistake in these calculations. It doesn’t affect the outcome much. As a result, I haven’t yet reissued it with corrected calculations.

  29. Downunder says:

    I’ve copied this from an article on RNZ.

     12 October 2017, just before midnight, mental health support helpline Lifeline contacted police concerned about a man who had attempted suicide but abruptly ended the call.

    Police visited the man’s home and when they found him distressed and agitated, he was taken to the Queenstown Police Station to be assessed by a mental health professional.

    Invercargill mental health staff, who the Queenstown police were referred to, did not arrive until seven hours later. They assessed him and he was released from custody.

    In a statement, police said the officers believed it was unsafe to leave the man alone.

    The Independent Police Conduct Authority found the detention of the man to be unlawful but the actions of the police were reasonable in the circumstances.

    It said the delay in treatment was beyond police control.

    “Incidents such as this are commonplace, and demonstrate the real difficulties confronted by Police when dealing with those experiencing a mental health crisis. Police often feel compelled to act unlawfully in order to protect the distressed individual and the wider public, and the Authority does not blame them for doing so,” Authority chair Judge Colin Doherty, said.

    “I support the actions of the officers involved, we have a duty of care to protect life and safety,” Queenstown Lakes Area Commander Inspector Olaf Jensen said.

    “Our officers were trying to protect this man and ensure his safety.”

    Similar situations occur every day in New Zealand and mental health is a complex issue, Assistant Commissioner Sandra Venables said.

    “It is our purpose to keep people safe and our staff were doing exactly that.

    “Police will continue to work closely with mental health crisis teams, and health facilities to provide the best possible response for those in distress.”

    Thinking about this, I’m wondering if this man perhaps unusually made a phone call and found himself talking to an operator that was more in tune with the younger generation and didn’t receive the bloke response he expected, hung up, then got locked up for his trouble.

    Years ago we had a strong advocate Richard ? at mensline? and perhaps during that time such a problem might not have existed.

    On reading this, it is in itself not a good advert for the reach out for help guys campaign.

    One assumes there was some follow up?

  30. mama says:

    # 31,,, what would have happened had this been a lady?

    Womens’ refuge? , taken to a family members house?

    I cannae imagine for a moment she spent the night at the police station, heaven definitely forbid says Louise Wallace.

    There is a good question there though, why do women have strong advocates like Louise Wallace, I mean,, do you really have to BE a victim to speak for victims?

    Why have men not a voice that is always asked by media, what is going on?… you know it, the song for an afternoon cup of tea….

  31. Downunder says:

    The police face recent criticism from the Coroner’s Office for not detaining a distressed woman who killed herself after leaving the police station.

    It’s a tough one.

    So, do we have a media campaign that doesn’t have the background skills and infastructure to back the support it offers?

  32. mama says:

    I see,,,I wonder why they did not detain her?

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