Is it better to take the moral high ground or prevent suicide?

CAMERON BURNELL/STUFF
Some 606 pairs of shoes, each representing a Kiwi lost to suicide, at Parliament in Wellington.

Are we serious about tackling suicide, or is it more important to take the moral high ground?

This story from Stuff:   Quote:

Richie Hardcore says it’s disingenuous of Lion to sponsor the mental health awareness programme.

Lifeline Aotearoa has gotten into bed with New Zealand’s largest alcohol company to spread the word about mental wellness.

Lion NZ, which has Speights, Lindauer, Corona, and Johnnie Walker among the brands in its stable, announced it would pilot a new programme, alongside the helpline, called the Zero Suicide Workplace scheme.

However, that action has reignited the moral and political debate about companies that make alcohol – a depressant – sponsoring mental health ventures.

The programme would help Kiwi businesses advance their health and wellbeing approaches, build resilience among employees and equip them with suicide awareness skills.  End of quote.

I think the only question that needs to be asked is are we serious about tackling suicide?  If the answer to that is yes, then who cares how the program is funded?

The objective of the Zero Suicide Workplace scheme is pretty clear and specific, they want to prevent suicide. The only connection the scheme has to alcohol is that it will be funded by the sale of alcohol.  No-one is going to be handing out beers or encouraging consumption as part of these programmes.

This hand-wringing is the same virtue signalling nonsense that saw both Middlemore and Dunedin hospitals reject an offer from Ronald McDonald House Charity to build facilities that provide patients and their families with free accommodation and many other support services because someone decided McDonald’s is ‘unhealthy’.  Quote:

“While I’m happy Lifeline gets to keep its services open, because they’re much needed, I do believe that there’s a conflict of interest between Lion … whose core product is alcohol, funding a mental-health focused helpline,” Hardcore said.

Furthermore, there was a causal relationship between depression and the effects of alcohol, he said.

“A lot of people who are suffering from depression use alcohol in turn to self-medicate. We need to be mindful that you might have depression independent of your alcohol consumption, but then if you’re using alcohol to feel better about what you’re experiencing, it can become a [dependency].

“Or you can have a problem with alcohol that could lead into depression. There’s a two-way street there.”[…] End of quote.

There is always some wowser willing to kill off a great initiative because they want to take the moral high ground.

If, as he suggests, there is a causal link between consumption of alcohol and depression and therefore suicide, then surely Lion is behaving responsibly by supporting these programmes.  Quote:

[…] Lifeline executive director Glenda Schnell understood the reasons the partnership might not go over well with everyone, but said it offered a chance to improve and expand existing services.

“We know there can be an association between mental health issues and addiction or misuse … This is an opportunity for us to work alongside them [Lion] and provide some key education and support.”

She said several other companies had expressed interest in piloting the programme, but Lion was chosen because of far how along it was on its “mental health journey.”

“This meant we weren’t starting from scratch, could test and learn before rolling the program out more widely across other businesses. Lion also employs around 1200 people, giving us the chance to engage a large and diverse number of people in our pilot.”  End of quote.

If these programs can save just one life, I really don’t care where the money comes from.

 


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