Community support for plea for action
The letter writer, Logan Williams, is a Year 12 student at Timaru Boys' High School.
''We as a community must stress the effect suicide has on a person's family and the outer community,'' he wrote. ''The act of someone taking their own life is affecting other teenagers in similar situations.
''If suicide occurs at a high rate like in Timaru, it could have a ripple effect, allowing suicide to suddenly seem normal within our community.''
The post had received 750 ''likes'' by Friday morning, less than 24 hours after it first appeared online.
It drew comment from Facebook users both in South Canterbury and other parts of New Zealand, including the Wellington area.
Reached by phone, Logan said he never expected the letter to garner such a large response.
''It's quite personal to me because members of my family suffer from depression,'' he said. ''Quite a lot of my friends have dealt with it as well.''
Young people don't always know where to go for help, despite the fact that resources do exist in the community, he said.
''In the community it's out there but not right in front of your face,'' he said. ''If it was more openly talked about, people might know more about how to get help.''
If you believe someone is at risk of suicide, don't wait - phone TACT, South Canterbury's psychiatric crisis helpline, on 0800 277 997.
A detailed list of places to get help is available on the Timaru Herald homepage under the heading ''Suicide: Time to talk'' and at "Don't be afraid to get help for yourself or others".
- © Fairfax NZ News