3 Nov 2018

Five deaths in Porirua a 'cluster'

9:01 am on 3 November 2018

The capital's health board has confirmed a spate of suspected suicides in Porirua, north of Wellington, were a cluster.

A staged photo of a young man hunched over, used to illustrate the use of seclusion rooms or mental health issues.

Photo: RNZ

Five young people from the Cannons Creek suburb have died since June.

A cluster is a rare occurrence developed due to the number of suicides, geographical location, and the people's relationship to each other

It can increase the risk of subsequent suicidal behaviour.

In a statement Capital and Coast DHB said it was doing all that it could to respond to the deaths and it had been working with the community and mental health service providers since May.

It said this work involved identifying other at-risk youths.

A national service called Clinical Advisory Services Aotearoa, which deals with clusters, has been set up in Porirua East and funding has been provided to employ two full-time mental health clinicians across four local high schools.

"Throughout this process, we have been involved in in-depth discussions with local schools and providers, to plan an approach to best support the Porirua community, recognising the number of deaths and the loss felt in this community," the statement said.

"There are a number of non-government agencies at work in the area and we are developing a coalition to bring the different teams together who may be working with people affected by this cluster of suicides."

The DHB is encouraging people to access resources from the Mental Health Foundation to support conversations with youth and to promote wellbeing.

Need to Talk? Free call or text 1737 any time to speak to a trained counsellor, for any reason.

  • Lifeline: 0800 543 354 or text HELP to 4357
  • Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 / 0508 TAUTOKO (24/7). This is a service for people who may be thinking about suicide, or those who are concerned about family or friends.
  • Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757 (24/7)
  • Samaritans: 0800 726 666 (24/7)
  • Youthline: 0800 376 633 (24/7) or free text 234 (8am-12am), or email talk@youthline.co.nz
  • What's Up: online chat (7pm-10pm) or 0800 WHATSUP / 0800 9428 787 children's helpline (1pm-10pm weekdays, 3pm-10pm weekends)
  • Kidsline (ages 5-18): 0800 543 754 (24/7)
  • Rural Support Trust Helpline: 0800 787 254
  • Healthline: 0800 611 116
  • Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155