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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.

15 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.

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