MENZ Issues: news and discussion about New Zealand men, fathers, family law, divorce, courts, protests, gender politics, and male health.

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.


  1. 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

    Comment by Ministry of Men's Affairs — Sat 1st September 2018 @ 12:43 pm

  2. #1

    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.

    Comment by Downunder — Sat 1st September 2018 @ 12:52 pm

  3. 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.

    Comment by mama — Sat 1st September 2018 @ 7:17 pm

  4. 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.

    Comment by Downunder — Sun 2nd September 2018 @ 9:40 am

  5. ..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.

    Comment by mama — Sun 2nd September 2018 @ 12:36 pm

  6. #5
    I think that might be more like

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

    Comment by Evan Myers — Sun 2nd September 2018 @ 1:23 pm

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

    Comment by mama — Sun 2nd September 2018 @ 2:36 pm

  8. 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.

    Comment by Evan Myers — Tue 11th September 2018 @ 12:26 pm

  9. 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?

    Comment by mama — Thu 13th September 2018 @ 8:15 am

  10. 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.

    Comment by Downunder — Thu 13th September 2018 @ 10:44 am

  11. 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.

    Comment by mama — Thu 13th September 2018 @ 11:06 am

  12. 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.

    Comment by Evan Myers — Thu 13th September 2018 @ 12:07 pm

  13. 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.

    Comment by mama — Thu 13th September 2018 @ 12:18 pm

  14. wow, herald article talks of new bankrupts here…

    Comment by mama — Thu 13th September 2018 @ 2:40 pm

  15. 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.

    Comment by Downunder — Thu 13th September 2018 @ 5:49 pm

  16. 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. 

    Comment by Downunder — Fri 28th September 2018 @ 8:26 am

  17. 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.

    Comment by Ministry of Men's Affairs — Fri 28th September 2018 @ 10:20 am

  18. Arguably?

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

    Comment by Evan Myers — Sun 7th October 2018 @ 1:24 pm

  19. 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.

    Comment by mama — Sat 3rd November 2018 @ 12:11 pm

  20. 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.

    Comment by mama — Sat 3rd November 2018 @ 12:40 pm

  21. 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.

    Comment by JustCurious — Sat 3rd November 2018 @ 1:53 pm

  22. 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

    Comment by mama — Sat 3rd November 2018 @ 2:34 pm

  23. 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.


    Comment by JustCurious — Sat 3rd November 2018 @ 2:44 pm

  24. #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

    Comment by mama — Sat 3rd November 2018 @ 3:06 pm

  25. 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.

    Comment by JustCurious — Sat 3rd November 2018 @ 5:06 pm

  26. Oh my I wonder what they are up to?

    Comment by JustCurious — Sat 3rd November 2018 @ 5:16 pm

  27. 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.

    Comment by mama — Sat 3rd November 2018 @ 9:06 pm

  28. Thanks Mama, warms my heart.

    Comment by JustCurious — Sun 4th November 2018 @ 7:51 pm

  29. 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.

    Comment by Evan Myers — Tue 20th November 2018 @ 9:57 am

  30. #21
    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.

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Tue 20th November 2018 @ 11:27 am

  31. 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?

    Comment by Downunder — Tue 20th November 2018 @ 12:35 pm

  32. # 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….

    Comment by mama — Tue 20th November 2018 @ 2:51 pm

  33. 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?

    Comment by Downunder — Tue 20th November 2018 @ 3:19 pm

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

    Comment by mama — Tue 20th November 2018 @ 3:33 pm

    Government rejects mental health review’s suicide reduction target recommendation … read more
    Government says ‘no’ to suicide prevention target recommended by Mental Health and Addictions Inquiry
    Katarina Williams
    12:00, May 29 2019

    SharePlay Video
    This animated video summarises the recommendations of He Ara Oranga: Report of the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction.
    The Government has opted against the introduction of a suicide reduction target, one of the key recommendations made in a wide-ranging, months’ long review into the mental health sector.

    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister David Clark said the decision not to introduce a target was one of two of the 40 recommendations set out in He Ara Oranga report it has chosen to reject.

    The pair made the announcement at a medical centre in Newtown, Wellington on the eve of the release of the Government’s Wellbeing Budget on Thursday.

    Comment by Evan Myers — Wed 29th May 2019 @ 12:26 pm

  36. Interesting article with Bill Raliston interviewing Katie Bradford (Sue Bradford’s daughter)

    It’s Katie Bradford’s day off after a long, hard weekend chasing stories for TVNZ’s 1 News. We are in a Grey Lynn cafe talking about the death in 1995 of her brother, Danny, aged 19. She was 13 at the time.

    The Listener is talking to the political reporter because many of us know her face, and her family’s sad story is one shared by thousands of other families.

    A schizophrenia sufferer, Danny was in Whangārei Hospital, supposedly on suicide watch, but he escaped and made his way back to Auckland, where he killed himself in a very public way.

    “The system,” she says, “let him down.” It had a devastating effect on those he left behind: his twin brother; his parents, former politician Sue Bradford and Bill Bradford; and his other siblings.

    “Mum and Dad had four other kids and gradually, over the years, you’re able to do things such as put up some photos. It’s hard. Everybody deals with it differently, everybody has to deal with grief and trauma differently in a way that’s right for them. There’s no right or wrong way.”

    She adds, “I know you shouldn’t hide away from things, but some things are just to painful to deal with.”

    Bradford says, “It was obviously devastating for Mum and a big thing for her. She never talked about it for years. It’s not something we talk about now, because it was just too hard.”

    She concedes that, at 13, she suppressed a lot of the shock. It was the school holidays, so, by the time she returned to school, “it wasn’t a thing”. She never talked to her friends about it, because of what she calls the “stigma” of mental illness and suicide.

    “I was in a really bad car accident a couple of years later, where two of my friends died and I was badly injured, and I always talked about the car accident. My way of coping with that was being quite public about it. I talked to the media.”

    The car she was in was sideswiped by a drunk driver and she became extremely vocal on the issue of drunk driving. She had counselling at school following the accident. “After Danny died, I don’t think I talked to anyone at school about it. Just never talked about it.”

    Blame the word “stigma”. It has less effect these days. “One of the benefits of the fact that people have talked so much about it [suicide] and mental health – and I’ve done a lot of stories on it – is that some of the stigma has been removed.”

    She says when Danny died, she was in a new high school. “I didn’t tell any of my friends that Danny was in the mental-health unit, because I was worried they’d think there was something wrong with me as well, which is something I’ve always felt really bad about.”

    We talk about the journalistic problems in reporting suicide. For many years, the health establishment discouraged virtually any discussion for fear of somehow encouraging more deaths. “It’s important that we talk about it,” she says. “Our male suicide rate is just horrific.”

    Discussing the long-delayed but now upcoming Government response on mental health, Bradford falls into political-reporter mode, suggesting details of it may follow Budget day because of the huge cost involved. She wants systemic change as part of that response.

    “A recognition in the system of how the people and their families feel, that they are being listened to. I hear that people feel like they are not being listened to. If there’s someone saying ‘there’s something wrong with my family member’, listen to them. They know best. If someone is crying out for help, give them the support they need.”

    We talk about a recent media report of a reasonably well-known person’s “sudden death”, often “mediaspeak” for a suicide. A reporter cannot call a death a suicide until the coroner rules that it is one. That verdict can take a couple of years to be announced, so the media often dance delicately around the cause of death.

    “Every time I hear of a suicide, high-profile suicides, friends of friends, whoever it is, I think, ‘Why didn’t the person know that so many people loved them? How could they not understand that so many people loved them?’

    “We’ve always felt that way about Danny, and I think he felt his family didn’t love him, and if he’d known …” she trails off, conceding wearily, “if you commit suicide, you are not rational.”

    After reading this you might say it doesn’t add much to the debate. What it does show is the human side of what happens and how insular families are about suicide.

    It’s hard wired into us to fight for survival, and I don’t think those left behind can comprehend what is seemingly illogical.

    What I see is some families fighting for change where they can find fault. But in most cases there is an assumption the death was not fault but inevitable.

    This is what has allowed politicians to avoid any real action in relation to suicide because they know there will be no loud protest.

    Likewise I’m sure the political dialogues that pass for real politicians are adequately advised they would be better off not making themselves responsible for answers.

    Comment by Downunder — Wed 29th May 2019 @ 4:16 pm

  37. #36,,,,”It’s hard wired into us to fight for survival, and I don’t think those left behind can comprehend what is seemingly illogical.

    What I see is some families fighting for change where they can find fault. But in most cases there is an assumption the death was not fault but inevitable.”

    …there was no way I could imagine a future for my sister, it may sound weird, but she simply did not like this world, we were not even sure if she meant to take her life at that particular time….I had two second cousins also and it pretty much flumoxxed all in the family bar one set of parents, and in that case depression seemed irrepairable…

    these people I knew would not have had no consoler change their thinking….but when it comes to the actual statistics there seems to be a difference that stands out, a lack of random and a possible pattern that is occurring amongst a group between the ages of I think 29-35 and again 40ish to 50ish,,, a lot of these guys are employed guys of a common age, I ask ,,’is this section of our society being driven to it?’..’and if so why”, but it is not talked about, why is nobody talkin bout it…

    I read the PM talking today about the suicide subject and up came the students,,,???,,, I look at the stats and see very few very young people take their own lives,,,maybe they are assuming this stat is on the rise, but is this so???, I surely hope not,,,

    Comment by mama — Wed 29th May 2019 @ 7:45 pm

  38. If you look back at previous discussions around the time what’s his name – Māori activist – quit the suicide panel there were two things happening.

    Government departments were trying to equalize gender suicide numbers by including female ‘attempted suicide’ and shift the focus to youth suicide to avoid dealing with the high numbers of male suicide.

    We have never had any good response to male suicide in the last 20 years.

    Comment by Evan Myers — Wed 29th May 2019 @ 7:59 pm

  39. The following comment, taken from one of Dr Warren Farrell’s speeches on YouTube, gives the most succinct summary that I have ever seen:
    Jeff Mallory
    3 years ago
    It is not just a boy crisis, it is a boy and MAN crisis. We raise males to be fodder for the junkie culture of consumption-addicted performance anxiety. “We are never enough, we never have enough, we’ve never done enough”, “men are only worthwhile when they are DOING something” are the mantras we as boys are told over and over and over again by the state and by the culture. This makes men unable to feel, unable to deal, unable to heal and leads to the frightening and warped behavior we sadly see too often today as “normal” behavior. We can’t have better, healthy boys if we don’t have better, healthy man around them as models and support.

    One small, local program on the Monterey, CA peninsula has been consistently successful at freeing men from their histories, their crushing old habits and their wretched levels of self-esteem. Fred Jealous and Breakthrough Men’s Community have been helping men recover from their terrifying boyhood histories for 28 years. In an 8 month program, we lead men through experiences and exercises that help them see and address the destructive, lifelong aftermath of this tragic tradition of being raised as boys who doubt their own inherent goodness and lovability. This frees them to be vastly better parents, partners and members of their communities. Boys won’t be raised better until the men around them, in all their communities, are whole, healed, loving human beings not male-role robots.
    The comment is clear and good, but it is worth watching Dr. Warren Farrell’s speeches in full, for much more detail on these deadly issues.
    In my opinion, this offers a prescription for what we should be aiming at.
    I know I am just repeating what Rex McCann and The Jims and many others have said previously.
    It is as true today, as it was 40 years ago.

    Comment by Murray Bacon — Sat 15th June 2019 @ 10:40 am

  40. @Murray

    My first experience of Warren Farrell was when he came to New Zealand with his third and fourth books.

    He spoke at a political event on the North Shore and gave a promotional speech in Pt Chev.

    I know you were around then but I am not sure if you heard him speak at either of those events, I was at both.

    In particular I listened to his speech at Pt Chev and something he said raised a question in my mind. He had his books for sale, and not that there was a great queue lining up to buy them but you’ve got to start somewhere so went up and bought them.

    I have no idea what the question was now or why it prompted the response it did.

    I didn’t get a recommendation;

    Have a look in this part of my book.
    Have you thought about this.
    Try looking at …

    I didn’t even get an answer;

    His face went a shade of black, he signed the two books I was buying, then just looked the other way and ignored me.

    That for a start that is the personality deficiency your dealing with.

    The second issue and I have pointed this out here before is that his work operates on a degree of comformation bias.

    I don’t have a problem respecting his contribution or his opinion but I do have a problem with placing too much reliance on this one person and expecting a golden egg.

    It’s human nature to accept a reasonable answer when you don’t have one but when Farrell comes so much from the psychological point of view not everything he says resonates in me.

    I think we have similar problems here with the solely philosophical view.

    I don’t see reasonable solutions coming solely from one discipline. That in itself is a form of ‘tribalism’ and I say that in the sense of the word and concept that arose in the very late 1800s.

    ‘Feminism’ was a recognized concept half a century early.

    Comment by Downunder — Sat 15th June 2019 @ 12:22 pm

  41. So, in a sense of ‘tribalism’ if multiple groups were responsible for contributing to the collective suicides each would prefer clean hands and condemnation elsewhere.

    Comment by Boonie — Sat 15th June 2019 @ 1:02 pm

  42. #40 Downunder, I accept your point:
    ……but I do have a problem with placing too much reliance on this one person and expecting a golden egg.
    That is why I said of the comment by Jeff Mallory, “gives the most succinct summary that I have ever seen.” Incidentally, I would say the same of Dr. Warren Farrell’s speech.
    As you say, this doesn’t mean that there are no other issues that are important.
    I didn’t see any of Dr. Warren Farrell’s speeches in NZ.
    Best wishes,

    Comment by Murray Bacon — Sat 15th June 2019 @ 5:48 pm

  43. @Murray I did see that.

    The touchy-feely side of the men’s movement ( not my label but that’s what you’re referring to ) needed a hero. Farrell comes along saying seemingly the right things and is adopted as the hero of that movement without any real analysis of how he’s arriving at his conclusions.

    What you’re seeing is Jeff Mallory doing the same thing.

    This must be good because it’s the same behavior. Let’s talk it up.

    Your drawing an association here between Rex McCann and a male recovery programme and Geoff Mallory promoting a male recovery programme and suggesting a common hero.

    There’s a large lot of fuzzy to rubbish logic that’s going on here in absence of some straight thinking.

    This links to Farrell in front of audience giving a bit of a pep talk that leads the conclusion that all we need is love we should agree with John Lennon.

    And you’re not seeing a problem here?

    Well, I am, and it’s a fucking big one.

    Comment by Downunder — Sat 15th June 2019 @ 6:52 pm

  44. Dear Downunder, you are right, I am “not seeing a problem here”.

    Comment by Murray Bacon — Sat 15th June 2019 @ 9:03 pm

  45. You get the feeling there’s nice concerned thoughtful people setting up suicide charities without realizing what is actually going on.

    I imagine there’s a fair bit of money going into a black hole somewhere.

    Comment by Evan Myers — Thu 27th June 2019 @ 5:55 pm

  46. I’m looking at the initial disclosure linked to in the post and this by comparison.

    Literally and publicly it’s taken about 15 years for the public discourse to catch up with a blog disclosure.

    One and half decades of official resistance and recognition and now the unarmed public is trying to reconcile this.

    When I say unarmed public … how much don’t they know that they could know.

    Comment by Evan Myers — Fri 28th June 2019 @ 11:09 am

  47. Unarmed public?,,,,some of those people had the power to help but instead may have hindered or even pushed over the edge, a decision they made knowing it would be hidden in victimhood, of course I am specifically talking about the Male suicide here. I would like to see evidence to show what is really happening in this country to make the Male statistics so bad because I am quite sure that Media, Politics, the Law and more have been pitted against Men for too long.

    Comment by mama — Fri 28th June 2019 @ 11:52 am

  48. That liberal feminist construct of victimhood.

    When you compare male suicide to female suicide it’s obvious that males are the tortured gender.

    What Feminists do is try to bring female self-harm into the suicide debate.

    Female self-harm is no more a cry for help than male hopelessness.

    This is the political and social blindfold that stops rational investment in an answer. Watch even the mildest feminist get indignant when there is a risk of that platform disappearing from their proposed efforts.

    Comment by Downunder — Fri 28th June 2019 @ 12:20 pm

  49. Key actions from the new draft action plan

    * Implement a free national suicide bereaved counselling service (implemented and monitored between 2022-2023)

    * Review the process for investigating deaths by suicide (2022-2023)

    * Develop new suicide media guidelines with additional focus on social media and entertainment (2020-2021)

    * Complete a stocktake of current supports available for people who have been discharged from Emergency Departments or inpatient services (2020-2021)

    Comment by Downunder — Tue 2nd July 2019 @ 1:27 pm

  50. Every life matters but not right now, we’re too busy with something else.

    The only consistent factor we’ve seen is the evolving pattern of avoidance.

    Comment by Downunder — Tue 2nd July 2019 @ 1:31 pm

  51. a permanent parking spot at the bottom, one for the ambulance and one for the wheelchair.

    Comment by mama — Tue 2nd July 2019 @ 1:39 pm

  52. #51
    a permanent parking spot at the bottom, one for the ambulance and one for the wheelchair.

    … for women and the undertakers cart for men.

    Comment by Evan Myers — Tue 2nd July 2019 @ 1:51 pm

  53. a cart ?…or maybe just a carpet for the dust…

    Comment by mama — Tue 2nd July 2019 @ 1:57 pm

  54. This is from an article written last year, however the article was headed up …”Construction industry’s ‘toxic’ masculine culture blamed for high suicide rate”

    ‘During boom times there were not enough people to keep up with demand, resulting in long hours, fatigue and lack of work-life balance with separation and divorce becoming risk factors for mental illness and suicide, the study found.’

    This kind of use of phrase “toxic masculine culture”,, is hardly constructive when talking about this issue,, the media needs to take a look at itself and the part it is playing in the suicide of men.

    Comment by mama — Wed 3rd July 2019 @ 4:59 pm

  55. Here’s another situation to be aware of.

    This is a Twitter conversation :

    Macca 2️⃣0️⃣1️⃣9️⃣™️
    Yesterday I heard the phrase “lost his battle with mental illness” which is a way better way than saying “committed suicide”, or not even addressing it at all.

    Andrew Night-Walker
    Sooo true!! Because, it is a battle, and those people who struggle against their demons are the strongest mofo out… But in the end got tired of fighting constantly and lost their battle

    Replying to
    In many cases it would not be their demons but someone one else’s provocation. (Grief from loss of relationship with children) His battle with mentail illness is an attempt to distance the source of distress from the outcome.

    Mentail is a typo but sometimes I think auto correct knows better.
    Men are at the tail end of this.

    Comment by Evan Myers — Sat 6th July 2019 @ 5:48 pm

  56. “lost his battle with mental illness” is said by people who refused to offer help or were unwilling or unable to offer hope, refusing to acknowledge that the person in question made a rational escape decision. Most likely the decision was delayed, until the obvious reality of the situation was so painful and so undeniably obvious, that it moved from inevitable to unable to be denied. done….
    “toxic masculine culture” just says that the speaker or writer is taking a blinkered feminine position and in the end just wants to enjoy female privilege (for what that is worth) and really does not want to travel 10 steps in any man’s shoes.
    Both sayings speak of casual expendability of men, usually by somewhat lazy people who want to take advantage. The reflection is true also, how well do men empathise with women’s position in our society?
    Our society does not have to be like this, but to move forward we all need to spend a little time in the other’s shoes.
    But I am not waiting that long. I want to enjoy life.

    Comment by Murray Bacon — Sun 7th July 2019 @ 8:28 am

  57. Didn’t we say as soon as we saw the Labour Government back in the suicide rate would rocket.

    Mental health experts have called for urgent action on suicide as New Zealand hits its highest level of suicide deaths since records began.

    There were 685 suicides in the year to June 30 – up 17 on last year.

    The suicide rate now stands at 13.93 per 100,000 people, compared to 13.67 per 100,000 in 2017/18.

    The annual provisional suicide statistics were released today by Chief Coroner Judge Deborah Marshall, who offered her condolences to the families and friends of those who had died.

    “We acknowledge the pain many communities are feeling as a result,” she said.

    Nearly 700 and it will get worse.

    There must be a lot of dumbfuckers or wilfully blind pretending they no nothing.

    Comment by Evan Myers — Mon 26th August 2019 @ 4:42 pm

  58. Until we get to think as ‘country men’, government included we will be behind the eight ball.

    We just seem to accept (as a society) the changes and then have to come up with band aids for the growing problems some of these changes are creating. Apparently one in five children have hearing loss and it is being asked of business how ready they will be for such a problem.

    Why are we standing by while our children grow in mental sickness and things like hearing loss, our children are being hooked on digital services which are only serving to ruin their lives to degrees.

    If we know the causes, like how a child is more stable with their two parents in their lives, and that headphones will affect their hearing then why are those problems not what we are to be looking at.

    Comment by mama — Tue 27th August 2019 @ 2:09 pm

  59. The most interesting point here is the self-ordained authority to threaten, harass, and demand compliance.

    It’s part way through the video.

    That is a considerable problem in itself.

    Comment by Evan Myers — Wed 28th August 2019 @ 9:36 am

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