In 2011, a cousin of Warkworth BPW president Sally Smith organised a bike ride from Bluff to Cape Reinga to raise awareness of depression and suicide, following two tragic deaths by suicide in their extended family.
Sally says she became interested in what New Zealand and the Government provided in terms of mental health, depression and suicide, in particular.
“It wasn’t much. There was (and still is) no target for the reduction of suicides, a strategy and plan that wasn’t delivering much, and a rising number of suicides year-on-year,” she says. “Through BPW Warkworth, a resolution was passed nationally urging the Government to ensure that every District Health Board had someone suitably qualified on the Board who had responsibility for mental health, and it urged the Government to set a suicide reduction target.”
At the three-yearly International BPW congress held in Cairo last year, NZ’s suicide prevention resolution was re-drafted into an international resolution, urging the United Nations to put pressure on governments everywhere to adopt a programme addressing the issue of suicide and depression.
“This was passed unanimously. So, a little voice in Warkworth became a significant voice globally.”