Good intentions are not enough
“Programmes in schools covering youth issues must be able to stand a rigorous test of best practice,” says Youthline
national director and spokesperson Stephen Bell.
“The organisations that provide these programmes must be well linked into the youth sector and the programmes themselves
must be developmentally and educationally focused and linked with the school curriculum.
“The programmes must be provided by suitably trained personnel. It is not appropriate for a programme to raise awareness
around suicide and it is important that any mention of the issue, if raised by a young person, is followed up.
“The essence of this argument about the appropriateness of talking about suicide is any thing that moves the line closer
to it being considered even unconsciously as a normal coping mechanism needs to be avoided.
“Young people who are struggling need to be linked up to an appropriate professional so they can get the support they
“Youthline has been providing first point of contact and support services for young people across the country for over
“Youthline has worked with the Ministry of Youth Affairs since its inception. We have been involved in the expert
reference panel during the development of the New Zealand Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy.
“We also fully support the recently published Youth Development Strategy which fully represents Youthline’s model of
work in the community.
“Youthline also believes young people hold a unique position in being able to reach out to other young people. Hundreds
of young people are involved in Youthline across the country. Each of these volunteers under-take an extensive training
programme and is in an ongoing supervisory process.
“It is essential that services are open to scrutiny and we support the audit processes that are undertaken by Child
Youth & Family with organisations providing services to young people,” said Mr Bell.
This is what Youthline has been doing with many young people every year. Each year Youthline receives over 200,000
calls. Our challenge is that we can only mange 20,000. Our 24/7 project plans to resolve this issue by moving to 24 hour
service .The first stage of this project will be implemented in February when technology will be installed that links
all our 11 centres together.