'Irresponsible, dangerous and untrue' - Mental Health Foundation slams suicide rate increase rumours

The Mental Health Foundation has dismissed rumours spread online that New Zealand's suicide rate has increased during the Covid-19 pandemic, calling them "irresponsible, dangerous and untrue".

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CEO Shaun Robinson says suicide rates have not risen during the Covid-19 pandemic. Source: Breakfast

The rumour had been spread by a number of people online after a blogger wrote an article based on un-verified reports.

Speaking this morning to TVNZ 1's Breakfast, Mental Health Foundation chief executive Shaun Robinson said there were no facts to back up what was written.

Source: TVNZ

"There was a suggestion that someone had talked to a policeman somewhere - one policeman - now the police have put out a statement to say that it's completely incorrect," Mr Robinson said.

"In fact they've seen just steady numbers for callouts.

"There's no factual backing for this and it's hugely irresponsible."

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Sir John was initially going to sell the app to corporates, but decided to offer it free to all New Zealanders instead. Source: Breakfast

Mr Robinson said reporting an increase in suicides could potentially encourage others suffering from mental health issues to commit suicide.

Those suffering from mental health issues during lockdown should reach out for help, he said, and should try to stay connected with friends and family.