Time to talk openly about suicide

PETRA FINER- TARANAKI STAR
Last updated 09:54 04/09/2014
Sylvia Huitson
PETRA FINER
Sylvia Huitson.

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South Taranaki Star

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Talking to someone won't push them over the edge but it just might save their life, a local counsellor says.

Sylvia Huitson, a counsellor and the author of the book Survive and Thrive - choose life, wants to encourage others to ask the hard questions.

It is suicide prevention week from Monday September 8 till Friday September 13 and Huitson said people needed to take advantage of the spotlight to push the subject to the fore.

"Suicide prevention is what I've been doing for the past 24 years," she said.

"Ask the question: Have you thought about suicide?

"That's important because people often skate around that.

"You can't do any harm just by asking that."

Often, Huitson said listening was the most important thing a person could do to help.

"Listening to the story is hugely important because people get a chance to get it out there, what's bothering them," she said.

"From there, if they have a plan and the means to carry it out, then contacting the police straight away."

If there was no plan but they were talking about it, Huitson said finding agencies to help support the person could make all the difference.

As a suicide survivor herself, Huitson said she was grateful to have lived to help others.

Frustration was what drove her to write a book about the subject.

"There is a simple message and it's about choosing life, it's about finding hope, it's about problem-solving and talking about it and connecting," she said.

"I think fear is one of the real things that stops us making much headway with suicide prevention.

"People are too scared to ask the question".

There will be a display at the Hawera LibraryPlus during Suicide Prevention Week.

Huitson's book is available by emailing counsellor.sylvia@xtra.co.nz.

HERE TO HELP: If you are suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts, contact one of the following services: Depression Helpline - 0800 111 757 Lifeline (telephone counselling) - 0800 543 354 Like Minds Taranaki - 06 759 0966 Suicide Prevention Helpline - 0800 TAUTOKO (828865) Supporting Families in Mental Illness Taranaki - 06 757 9300 Taranaki DHB Adult Mental Health Crisis Team - 06 753 6139 Tui Ora Ltd - Mental Health & Addiction Services - 06 759 4064 Youthline - 0800 376633.

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