Easy to say, harder to do

Stop your kids from committing suicide…

A visiting global expert on teenage health is giving New Zealand a glowing report card, with one exception – our high youth suicide rate.

UN advisor Professor Robert Blum says fewer Kiwi teens are drink driving and smoking, but parents and teachers need to make them feel better connected.

Coasting through summer is a teenage rite of passage, but adolescence has its ups and downs.

Prof Blum is impressed with New Zealand’s approach, but says our high youth suicide rate is not good enough. Last year alone, 46 teenagers aged between 15 and 19 took their own lives.

He has simple advice for parents – eating one family meal a day together is key to staying connected.

“Talk to your kids, talk to them, talk to them, talk to them and when you don’t believe they are listening keep talking, because they.” 

He also believes every child should be known by at least one adult in every school.

Prof Blum has also stressed to policymakers here the need for taxing fatty foods and sugary drinks – his research offshore has found bad nutrition, alcohol and stress turn off crucial regulators in our body, making teens and adults more vulnerable to disease.

New Zealand is making real progress in teen health. In the past decade, 56 percent fewer teens have tried smoking, 40 percent less say they’ve tried marijuana, there’s been a 55 percent decrease in teens drink driving, and 34 percent fewer getting into a car with a drunk behind the wheel.

Mostly on the improve then, but still too many kids taking their lives.

It’s a tricky time of their lives, with hormones surging through and becoming incommunicative.  Personally I don’t see how you can reduce suicide rates.  With rare exceptions, each and every one is unexpected.  There are often loved, well looked after.  And still…

Keep the communication lines open.  Beyond that, I’ve got no idea.  Do you?

– 3 News

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.