Appalled by New Zealand's "tragically high" youth suicide rate, a Waikato mental health nurse is getting noisy to raise awareness.
Kahui Neho, who has worked at Waikato Hospital's Henry Rongomau Bennett Centre for four years, is teaming up with motorbike club the Super Maori Fullas to launch the Riders Against Teenage Suicide (RATS) Green Ribbon Ride campaign.
The group will ride into Hopuhopu, north of Ngaruawahia, on Harley Davidsons for a powhiri and family day on March 23. This will be the second of three campaign events.
The first was held in Whangarei in January and the last will be held in Kawerau in April. They aim to promote Iwi organisations and service providers that relate to youth suicide. Te Puna Oranga, Waikato DHB's Maori Health, will be among other organisations present at the Hopuhopu event.
"Youth suicide is a topic that our people have problems addressing,'' Miss Neho said.
''Our rangatahi are our future, and they need to know that there are people out there to help them when they are at their most vulnerable.
"Our greatest desire is that this campaign will show youth and their families that there is support available."
She said it was great to have the backing of a large organisation like Waikato DHB behind her.
The Super Maori Fullas launched the White Ribbon Ride 'Men against violence' campaign in November 2009.
They agreed to front the Green Ribbon Ride campaign when the White Ribbon Ride campaign ended in November 2012.
Super Maori Fullas founding member Mahu Rawiri said New Zealand was losing too many young people to suicide.
''We're losing generations. If we aren't proactive as adults, as mums and dads, we're not going to have the John Keys and the Hone Harawiras left.''
Last year 547 Kiwis took their own lives.
"We might not save everyone, but if we can save one person that's better than none. It's about standing up for what you believe in," Mr Rawiri said.
For more information about the Green Ribbon Ride campaign, contact Kahui Neho at firstname.lastname@example.org
- © Fairfax NZ News
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