Bill English: My 15 year old took her life a month ago, don’t let any more of our kids die
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My daughter Ariana killed herself just over a month ago. She turned 15 only two days before she died. She attempted suicide twice before and I had tried everything to get her help. I begged as hard as I could - but she was turned away. Our mental health systems is failing our young people. It’s not surprising New Zealand has the highest youth suicide rate in the developed world. I am so angry and broken, that I couldn’t get my daughter the help she needed.
I want an urgent inquiry into our mental health crisis so that no one else has to go through what I have.
When my daughter first attempted suicide I was frightened and in shock. I took her to hospital but after two nights she was released back into my care. She attempted again and I begged for someone to help me. I was told there was a place in a mental health ward in Wellington but just after we packed to leave we were told the bed was taken. She was admitted into a general children’s ward instead and a couple of days later she was released again because she wasn’t considered serious - even though she tried to take her life. All I was given was a pamphlet and some phone numbers.
I begged them. I begged them to help my daughter. I begged them to keep her in care. I was told I’d have to wait for funding which never came. I did everything I could to keep her alive but I shouldn't have had to fight to get services to help her.
A month after she was released she took her life. I truly believe is she could have got the help she needed, she would still be here today.
I cannot begin to tell you the pain I am going through. I tried so hard. I still remember how much I begged. I still don't understand how we were let down.
The mental health system is in crisis and parents like me are being forced to pick up the pieces but we aren’t trained to that.
I support an urgent inquiry into our mental health crisis so we can make sure people get the support they need, before it’s too late.
Every political party in New Zealand, except National and Act, support the six demands families bereaved by suicide asked for this election. I want your party to sign up too:
- Hold a mental health inquiry
- Restore $2.3b in health funding
- Set a suicide reduction target
- Increase primary health, GP funding
- Commit to safe staffing
- Make every home healthy
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