Volunteers will collect 579 pairs of shoes to highlight each New Zealander who committed suicide in 2016.
Suicide prevention groups and families and friends who have lost loved ones will line up shoes in more than 20 towns across New Zealand, beginning on August 26 at events in Cape Reinga and Bluff.
At each event, a bereaved local will hold a pair of their loved ones’ shoes, share their story and talk about the change they want to see.
The final event will be at Parliament on September 10, which is also International Suicide Prevention Day.
YesWeCare.nz and the Public Service Association, New Zealand’s mental health union, are supporting groups and families running the events.
Co-ordinator Simon Oosterman says the shoes will provide a striking visual reminder of the toll suicide has on communities.
“Suicide is preventable,” he said.
“We need to talk more about how to identify people at risk and support them to get help.”
The 579 suicide deaths in 2016 is the worst toll since records began in 2008.
Men aged between 25 and 29 and women aged between 40 and 44 are most at risk, while Maori are the most at risk ethnicity.
Where can I get support and help?
Below is a list of some of the services available which offer support, information and help.
Lifeline 24/7 – 0800 543 354
Kidsline (aimed at children up to 18 years of age, available 24/7) – 0800 54 37 54
Depression Helpline 24/7 – 0800 111 757
Healthline – 0800 611 116
Samaritans – 0800 726 666 (for callers from the Lower North Island, Christchurch and West Coast) or 0800 211 211 / (04) 473 9739 (for callers from all other regions)
Youthline – 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
What’s Up (for 5-18 year olds; 1 pm to 11 pm) – 0800 942 8787
www.depression.org.nz – includes The Journal online help service
www.thelowdown.co.nz – visit the website, email email@example.com or free text 5626 (emails and text messages will be responded to between 12 noon and 12 midnight).