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Ardern moved to tears at suicide awareness rally

10 September 2017 2:58 AM
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Ardern moved to tears at suicide awareness rally

A suicide prevention rally at Parliament moved Labour leader Jacinda Ardern to tears today.

The YesWeCare rally has been travelling around the country with 606 pairs of shoes to represent the people who killed themselves in the past year in New Zealand.

Ardern choked back tears while speaking to the crowd of around 150 people about her best friend's brother's suicide when she was 13.

"Those shoes are quite moving," she said. "The idea that we have lost 600 New Zealanders in the last year - I find absolutely devastating.

"Because for every one of those people there is a ripple effect in our families and our communities."

Ardern re-committed to reviewing mental health services if in Government, and said she wanted mental health teams in every secondary school in the country.

She said she wanted to eventually bring the number of suicides in New Zealand down to zero.

"Because anything else suggests we have a tolerance for loss to suicide in New Zealand."

This afternoon, the Labour leader is expected to outline what she would do in her first 100 days in government.

Labour's Wellington branch is holding a rally at the 1500-seat St James theatre, which is close to full.

Ardern will speak at the event, saying what her priorities would be if she becomes Prime Minister on September 23.

There will be a performance by Wellington bands The Black Seeds and Fat Freddy's Drop, and the Phoenix Foundation. The supergroup is called Stardust - the term used by National leader Bill English to describe Ardern.

However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.

• SUICIDE CRISIS HELPLINE: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)


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