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Opinion

Creating hope through action

Saturday 10 September 2022 | Written by Caleb Fotheringham | Published in Health, National

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Creating hope through action
Mereana Taikoko. 19090912

Cook Islands will join the rest of the world to mark World Suicide Prevention Day today.

Everyone has a part to play in suicide prevention, says a director of a local mental health group.

Director of Te Kainga O Pa Taunga, Mereana Taikoko said the theme for this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day was “creating hope through action”.

“All of us have a part to play in prevention, from my own experience just a few words make a big difference,” Taikoko said.

“It makes them feel that somebody actually cares what they’re going through.

“Our actions no matter how big or small provide hope to those who are struggling.”

Since 2005, Taikoko said there have been 39 suicides and 30 of those have been from men. Cook Islands did not report any suicide cases this year.

Taikoko said November, December and January were typically months with the highest rates of suicide in the Cook Islands.

She said this was when all the big events in the year were on.

“We have these habits of keeping a lot of our family reunions, birthdays, weddings and leaving them to the end of the year.

“A lot of things go on during that time of year.”

Taikoko said she thought people should spread out the events instead of leaving it all to the end of the year.

She said there was still a lot of people who did not understand what mental health was in the country.

Taikoko said supporting people through mental health for many meant helping people through worries and depression.

“It’s a common everyday problem.”

Taikoko asked people to wear yellow over the weekend to support World Suicide Prevention Day.

She also encouraged people to make space for others to listen.

“Just by asking how are you today? Are you ok? You start the conversation.”

Cook Islands has recorded over two cases of suicides each year on average since 2005. Taikoko said per capita, it was twice the rate of New Zealand.

If you need support for yourself or someone else, you can contact Te Kainga on 20162 or 50633.