The mother of a 15-year-old Hastings girl who committed suicide two months ago has shared a tearful embrace with Jacinda Ardern on the steps of Parliament today.
Clutching a framed photo of her daughter Ariana, Hana Reedy presented a 30,000-strong petition asking for an inquiry into New Zealand's mental health crisis.
The Hastings parents, Mrs Reedy and her husband Api Nasedra, are specifically requesting New Zealand First make an inquiry into mental health a bottom line in coalition talks.
Mrs Reedy said her family received no help from the DHB they approached prior to their daughter's suicide two months ago.
"We went through a mental health DHB. We got no help through them, I know that personally because I went through it all," Mrs Reedy said.
"The first time she tried to do something to herself we got sent to the hospital and we were put into the children's ward because there was no where to put my 14-year-old daughter in Hawke's Bay."
Mrs Reedy said her daughter was discharged two days later, and five days after returning home she again harmed herself.
"The system failed us. Something failed us," Mrs Reedy said.
"We've got a bad problem with our young people and something needs to be done, not pushed under some rug and then pulled out when something happens."
The 30,000 strong petition was organised through the YesWeCare alliance of community health groups including the Public Service Association (PSA).
In a statement, YesWeCare said Health Minister Jonathon Coleman was invited to receive the petition on behalf of caretaker Prime Minister Bill English but was unable to attend.
"Families like Hana's are being forced to face their darkest hours alone," PSA national secretary Ms Polaczuk said.
"Hana's call for a mental health inquiry is supported by tens of thousands of people not because her story is unique, but because it reflects a shared experience of a system that is failing the people who need it most."