Parents who lost their 15-year-old daughter to suicide two months ago delivered a 30,000-strong petition to Parliament today to mark World Mental Health Day.
Hana Reedy and Api Nasedra presented a photo of their daughter Ariana, framed by the names of the thousands of New Zealanders calling for an inquiry into mental health.
Mrs Reedy’s petition will remain open and can be signed at http://change.org/mydaughter.
The Hastings parents want New Zealand First to make an inquiry into New Zealand’s mental health crisis a bottom line in coalition talks.
Before the election, all political parties, except National and Act, committed to holding an inquiry.
The petition and an earlier video of Mrs Reedy’s story inspired an outpouring of support online. Mrs Reedy said she didn’t want other family to go through what she had.
YesWeCare.nz, which ran The Shoe Project suicide prevention campaign, supported the family today.
Coalition members include the Public Service Association (PSA), New Zealand’s mental health union.
PSA national secretary Erin Polaczuk says 77% of New Zealanders support an independent inquiry into mental health and support services.
“Families like Hana’s are being forced to face their darkest hours alone,” says Ms Polaczuk. “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.”
Polaczuk says the unions’ members were “stretched” with many crisis teams “on the brink of collapse”.
People’s Mental Health Review spokesperson and Psychotherapist Kyle MacDonald says whoever wins the election, services need an overhaul: “The only thing that’s changed since we launched the recommendations of the People’s Mental Health Report is that things have gotten worse,” he said.
– Mrs Reedy’s petition is available at: http://change.org/mydaughter
– Comments supporting Hana’s petition are available here.
– Health Minister Jonathon Coleman was invited to receive this petition on behalf of caretaker Prime Minister Bill English but was unable to attend.