My son, Ross Taylor took his own life after he asked mental health services for help three times in the last weeks before he died.
Our family begged the services for help yet our grave concerns were dismissed and ignored. Ross was only 20 years old and even though he was in the high-risk age and gender group his pleas for help were ignored. It is not surprising that New Zealand has the highest youth suicide rate if people are treated like this.
No person should ever have to feel that suicide is their only option.
We need to provide better care.
Our mental health systems are failing our people and there are huge gaps. Despite our desperate and best efforts to ask for help from the services our pleas went unheeded. If my son was having a heart attack he would have received quality care however mental distress is often treated with less priority and with lack of empathy.
We ask them to work together across all political parties and make the right decision for all New Zealanders.
I want an urgent inquiry into our mental health crisis so that no one else has to suffer like my son, Ross Taylor.
A mental health inquiry is needed so that we can see how many people are turned away from services, how many people have died by suicide after contact with services within 1 day, 1 week, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months and 1 year. This inquiry needs to look at how many people have been discharged from services, often because they have missed their appointments due to being very unwell and then went on to take their own lives.
The public deserves to know how many people have simply been dropped from services or being told they don’t meet the criteria. None of the above information is gathered to identify what the problems are.
If we have this information we can make positive changes and lives will be saved.
The following to be implemented:
- Suicide prevention training for frontline staff to be mandated.
- DHB records to be electronic so that clinical information is readily available in a crisis.
- Zero suicide target in the health care system implemented.
- Increase primary health and GP funding.
- Commit to safe staffing.
- Independently investigate all serious adverse events (including attempts and self-inflicted deaths) of people who had contact with services up to 1 year after last contact.
- Independently investigate mental health services and give people with the lived experience an opportunity share how they and their families have been treated.
- Ensure that reporting of suicides by DHBs are mandated for up to a year and not voluntary for up to 28 days only.
Thanks very much for you support,