Published March Issue, from the editor
With the recent loss of yet another well-known chef, Australia’s Chef Justin Bull last month, I thought it prudent to briefly revisit the topic of Mental Health.
Firstly, to keep focus on the topic so it remains out in the open and discussed and secondly, to reiterate the sentiment to anyone who is struggling, having a difficult time right now or who is feeling depressed and overwhelmed. Reach out to whanau and friends or one of the services available (listed at the end of the article). Ask for help, you are not alone.
I began with a little research, to find some facts and figures to present to you. The more I looked, the more I was shocked at what I discovered. We are all aware of the well-known cases, particularly in our industry; names like Jeremy Strode, Anthony Bourdain, Benoît Violier, Homaro ‘Omar’ Cantu. But it became obvious that mental well-being and suicide is a significant social issue, particularly in New Zealand.
World Health Organisation figures show that worldwide 800,000 people die due to suicide every year.
New Zealand’s suicide rate is sitting at the highest since records began, according to a 2018 Ministry of Justice suicide statistics report.
In 2017, UNICEF reported New Zealand’s youth suicide rate – teenagers between 15 and 19 – to be the highest of a long list of 41 OECD and EU countries.
Take a moment and think about this. In 2017 the road toll was reported at 378, and when in 2018 it rose to 380 we saw headlines in the newspapers, TV and Radio reports, all bringing our attention to how many tragically lost their lives on New Zealand roads. Billboards went up, Police and Government were vocal, with initiatives to bring the road toll down. However, in 2017, 606 people in NZ lost their lives to suspected suicides and in 2018, that rose to 668, nearly double the respective road tolls. This was the fourth year in a row that the number has increased and it was the highest number of suspected suicide deaths since the coroner’s annual provisional suicide statistics were first recorded in 2007-08.
There is a lot of conjecture on the whys – the tradition of the hardened-up mate culture within New Zealand, or stoicism inside the New Zealand psyche around ‘I’m just going to work through this myself’ being common theories – both of which you might not experience as much in other countries..
Thankfully, in time those mindsets may dissipate with people like 2019 New Zealander of the Year Mental Health Advocate, Mike King, shining the spotlight on these issues particularly with our younger generation.
Editor - NZChefs Plate
Below – The Ministry of Justice Annual NZ provisional suicide statistics is sobering reading:-
2007/2008 - 540
2008/2009 - 531
2009/2010 - 541
2010/2011 - 558
2011/2012 - 547
2012/2013 - 541
2013/2014 - 529
2014/2015 - 564
2015/2016 - 579
2016/2017 - 606
2017/2018 - 668
Total - 6204
Need to talk? - Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor
Lifeline - 0800 543 354 or 09 522 2999
Youthline - 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email email@example.com
Samaritans - 0800 726 666
Alcohol and Drug Helpline - 0800 787 797
Depression Helpline - 0800 111 757 or free text 4202
chefswithissues.com Includes a link to a closed Facebook discussion group