The meeting of Auckland Council’s Social and Community Development Forum on Tuesday included presentations from people and organisations working in the fields of mental health and suicide prevention.
 “Almost half the New Zealand population will experience a mental illness or addiction at some time in their lives. Each year almost 500 people in New Zealand take their own lives,” says forum chair, Councillor Cathy Casey.
 “Mental health and suicide is still a topic many people feel uncomfortable about, but there are some organisations and people doing some incredible work and this is a chance to hear about it.”
 She says the forum also heard about the important role that Auckland Council can and does play in supporting Aucklanders’ mental health and wellbeing.
 “That comes in many forms from funding and partnerships to events and facilities that help communities feel safe, nurtured and cared for and, ultimately, to flourish.”
Presenters at the forum were Professor Ngaire Kerse, head of the School of Population Health, University of Auckland, Debra Lampshire, senior tutor at the School of Nursing, University of Auckland, Maria Bradshaw, CEO, Community Action on Suicide Prevention, Education and Research (CASPER) Rainbow Youth along with Dale Little, mental health promoter,  Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand, Moira Clune, Suicide Prevention Information New Zealand.