Suicide: 1,000 Letters Project

Suicide in Aotearoa New Zealand is a well known country-wide failing, especially for boys + men.

The following themes were extracted from suicide letters donated by families to the Key To Life (KTL) Trust, "This was not a scientific or academic piece of research in its purest sense. Rather, it was an attempt to understand the people whose final communications have been provided by families who responded to calls to participate in the 1000 Letters project and importantly to look for common themes and distil any trends or triggers from the material"

Key Themes from the 1000 Letters Project

Impulsive suicides were the exception, not the norm. Most who wrote about their reasons described months, years, or even decades of issues that contributed to their final decision, even if that decision seemed sudden to others.

Love was not enough. Writers knew they were loved and they reciprocated that love. Having love could became additional evidence that there was something wrong with them and a source of guilt. Loving relationships and not wanting to hurt others could postpone a suicide, but not prevent it.

People did not want to die; they wanted the pain to stop. They were hurting and exhausted from the ongoing struggle of being themselves and wanted peace and a cessation of pain. Many wanted to stop hurting people they loved and felt that their absence would eventually be better for those people.

A suicide affects everyone. Any death and loss causes grief; in the case of suicide this grief was often complicated by feelings of guilt, blame, and social stigma. Resources to help those left behind were often said to be inadequate or even non-existent.

I don't know what I expect posting this here, I don't have any predefined reactions I hope you'll have. Show empathy to those struggling, reach out to ya mates, and remember you're never alone.

Mike King, a former (still?) stand-up comedian that, through fighting his own demons, is both a powerful advocate and one that swims against the current NZ Ministry of Health approach to suicide

KTL began as The Nutters Club in 2010 but transformed into The Key to Life Charitable Trust in 2012.  The focus for Mike King shifted to helping young people, and travels the country all year round sharing his journey of being a kid with low self-esteem, shifting into addiction and depression.


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