The mother of Nicky Stevens who was found dead after walking away from Waikato Hospital's mental health unit says it's "really scary" that Mike King has resigned from the Government's suicide prevention panel.
The mental health campaigner says he's stepping down because the recently released draft plan to prevent suicide is "deeply flawed self-serving rubbish" and "a masterclass in butt covering".
Mr King has been on the Ministry of Health panel since 2015. It was established to stop New Zealanders like 21-year-old Nicky Stevens from taking their life.
Steven's mother, Jane Stevens, says it should be the Minister of Health and mental health officials who should be resigning.
"I'm really shocked because I know Mike has tried really hard to work productively, and for him to be resigning is really scary," Ms Stevens said.
She said Mother's Day yesterday was a really hard day for her as a mum and for many mums around the country.
"And for this to happen, yeah, it's incredibly depressing that there's no confidence in the direction that we're heading in this country to resolve this huge problem."
There were more than 579 suicides in New Zealand last year, a record high.
Mike King travelled the country working on suicide prevention and he thought he could make a difference being on the panel.
But he says the draft suicide prevention plan is "mixed in impenetrable language that says everything but promises absolutely nothing".
The panel chairman, director of mental health Dr John Crawshaw, says the ministry is still consulting on the draft plan and will consider Mr King's criticism.
"We will look at his criticism and see whether or not we can strengthen what that is saying. Certainly my view is that we do need to take a holistic view of how people live their lives so we can strengthen them and support them when challenges come along," Dr Crawshaw said.
Where can I get support and help from?
Below is a list of some of the services available which offer support, information and help. All services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week unless otherwise specified.
Lifeline 24/7 – 0800 543 354
Kidsline (aimed at children up to 18 years of age, available 24/7) – 0800 54 37 54
Depression Helpline (8 am to 12 midnight) - 0800 111 757
Healthline - 0800 611 116
Samaritans - 0800 726 666 (for callers from the Lower North Island, Christchurch and West Coast) or 0800 211 211 / (04) 473 9739 (for callers from all other regions)
Youthline - 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email email@example.com
What's Up (for 5-18 year olds; 1 pm to 11 pm) - 0800 942 8787
www.depression.org.nz - includes The Journal online help service
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