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We are told that New Zealand has one of the highest youth suicide rates in the world. Unfortunately, this may mean that someone close to you, (or even you) may be contemplating or have attempted suicide.

Some myths about suicide:

  • Suicidal people really want to die
    • most people just can’t see any other way out of their situation, rather than actively wanting to die
  • Suicides happen out of the blue
    • most people do give signs that they are thinking about suicide
  • People who think about suicide are crazy
    • anyone can contemplate suicide if they are distressed enough
  • People who talk about suicide won’t really do it
    • most people who think about suicide will mention this in some way

What are the warning signs?

Most people who think about suicide do communicate this to others in some way. Commonly this will be verbal - your friend may say that "life is too much bother" and that "others would be better off without them".

Your friend may withdraw from people and things they have been interested in. It is possible that your friend may become uncharacteristically tearful or reckless.

Perhaps you have noticed that your friend is taking less care with hygiene or personal grooming.

There may be changes in sleeping or eating patterns - either sleeping or eating more than usual or not sleeping or eating well.

You may have noticed that your friend has become preoccupied with death.

You, or others, may suddenly be given personal possessions by your friend.

You may note that your friend is suddenly cheerful even though the situation still looks the same. This may indicate that a decision has been made to commit suicide.

How can I help?

  • Listen carefully and ask. Sometimes the cues are quite subtle and easy to miss if you aren’t really listening. Don’t be afraid to ask someone if they are thinking about suicide. It won’t give them ideas.
  • Take your friend seriously - even if they are talking about it flippantly.
  • Offer support, but don’t try to handle this on your own.
  • Try to persuade your friend to get professional help. If they won’t - ask a professional for advice yourself. Don’t allow yourself to be "trapped" by promises of secrecy. Where someone’s life is in danger confidentiality must come second.
  • Show the person you care. Sometimes just some thoughtful gestures or words - or even a hug helps.
  • Acknowledge that things are difficult for them. Don’t try and cheer them up or tell them to "snap out of it."
  • Suggest that if they are willing to let others help, that there may be some really good, new solutions to the problems which currently seem insurmountable.
  • Most people who think about suicide are so overwhelmed by the enormity of their problems that they can’t see any other way out. However, there are other ways of dealing with things. Only by being alive can one put them into practice. Most people welcome alternatives that work, but it may take some time and some talking to discover them.

Where do I go from here?

Try and get the person to talk to friends, family or whanau.

If you would like to make an appointment to see a counsellor to learn more about this topic please contact the counselling service on your campus.  Distance students can contact any on of the campuses.  Please tell the receptionist if you need an urgent appointment.

Here are also some options if more assistance/support is needed (Choose the appropriate location):


  • Student Counselling Service offers a confidential and sensitive service that can help. Phone the Turitea Campus Site on (06) 350-5533 from 8.30 am to 5.00 pm (voicemail after hours)

The after hours crisis numbers are as follows:

  • Samaritans offer a 24-hour call-in service. Phone (06) 358-2442 or 0800 726 666
  • The Mental Health Emergency Team exists specifically to help people in crisis. Their 24-hour Mental Health Phone Line number is 0800 653 357


  • Health and Counselling Centre Monday to Friday 8.30 am - 5.00 pm. Phone (09) 213 6700.

The after hours crisis numbers are as follows:

  • Central Auckland - 0800 800717
  • West Auckland - West Rodney (09) 837 6603
  • North Shore/East Rodney (ask for CATT Team), (09) 486 1491
  • South Auckland (ask for CATT Team), (09) 270 9090


  • Student Counselling Service, The Student Services Trust @ Wellington, Monday to Friday 8.30 am - 4.30 pm. Phone (04) 801-2542.

The after hours crisis numbers are as follows:

  • The CATT (Community Assessment and Treatment Team) emergency response team is available 24-hours at the following numbers:
    • Wellington: (04) 494 9169
    • Lower Hutt: (04) 566 6999

Other sources of help: medical doctor, counsellor, or spiritual leader. Most libraries have self-help books which many people find helpful.

Massey Contact Centre Mon - Fri 8:30am to 5:00pm 0800 MASSEY (+64 6 350 5701) TXT 5222 Web chat Staff Alumni News Māori @ Massey