Suicide rate hits all time record high and we NEVER ask why because we are cowards


Another Suicide rate record high. 685 deaths.

More articles with ‘WHERE TO GET HELP’ lists of phone numbers as if that changes anything.

More young men, older men and old men destroying themselves in the ultimate act of self mutilation and despair.

Tell those men in the grave about how much privilege they have.


No connection between the suicide rate with male depression and the negative messages we bombard men with.

We NEVER as the why of suicide!

We never ask WHY so many young men kill themselves!

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We never ask WHY so many older men kill themselves!

We never ask WHY so many Māori & PI men kill themselves!

In a media landscape where men are the first to be blamed and smeared, we never ask what that’s doing, we just mock and laugh their fragile toxic masculinity and drink their ‘delicious’ tears.

Suicide is like a cultural scab we no longer pick at because the shame is too great and the weeping wound too painful to even acknowledge.

The horror of our suicide rate gives us a glimpse behind the ‘she’ll be right’ facade of our society and the dark torment of an alpha male macho mental landscape that is terribly fragile.

Our under funded social infrastructure, our ‘me first’ consumerism, our 30 years of neoliberal mythology, our disconnection from one another, our untreated pain, our lack of hope from grinding poverty in a first world country, our damaged masculinity, the intergenerational consequences of colonialism, our unspoken rage culture, our inability to express emotion beyond anger – all of this demands questions we don’t want to hear and the shame of suicide continues to hide and smother any healing.

In a country that has no religious faith and all the maturity of a can of coke, the bonds which keep us attached are withered and disconnected. In our fetishisation of individualism we have lost the central part of the human condition – connection.

We have traded in our interwoven threads of whanau, friendship and kin for a rat race where no one wins.

The reason we can’t talk about suicide is because we can’t stand to talk about the dark treacle of self hate and loneliness at the core of consumer culture. We don’t dare confront the hollowness of our existence on these far flung rocks for fear of what we will reveal about ourselves.

Damaged individuals competing for a self identity too fragile for the storms and tempests of life.

Thanks to neoliberalism, we are further from each other than ever before.

Look at the manner in which our suicide rates jumped after the neoliberal reforms of the 1980s, where we moved away from the communal towards the individual…

…we huddle frightened on these lonely crags at the end of the world and slowly one by one slip off into the swallowing dark. Until we are prepared to confront many of the individualism-over-all myths and rebuild our tattered communities, our suicide rate will remain reminding us of our whispered deceptions.

We refuse to ask the why of suicide because we are too frightened to know the answer is a reflection of the shallow and lonely community we have become. Instead we reel off a list of phone numbers whenever we dare mention suicide as if that means a fucking thing.

We are broken nation of fatherless sons and no one wants to admit that or challenge it.


  1. I agree Martyn those phone numbers are pathetic. It’s as if there is a conspiracy by the powers that be to hide the real reasons suicide. Mental health sure is an issue. But there is a whole culture that puts the mighty dollar before people that I feel is the main culprits. The profit before people is so true. Peoples worth in a consumer based society is based on there bank balance. Hopefully the consumerism dies out once we realise how hollow it is.

  2. I read yesterday about the number of UK immigrants that are ditching NZ and going back to the UK. Social isolation and impenetrable cliques were one of the reasons. They said that no matter how much they tried they couldn’t make friends.

    Wife and I were born and live in a rural region of NZ where this happens. Completely impenetrable. Oh yeah…182 “friends” on facebook but no real people to interact with.
    And then they wonder why folk top themselves.

    • People just don’t trust people anymore as for the whinging poms who cares we already have enough of them here many working in our governments departments they get jobs easier than us Maori cause they are the same colour as the person employing them. Yes they do cause racism and discrimination are very much alive in good old colonial NZ.

  3. Unfortunately:
    A) This is overwhelmingly a male issue, and labour /green are anti men. Even ashamed to be in the event they were a bloke and made it through the gender balancing to be an MP.

    B) It would require intelligence, vision and intestinal fortitude to restore our broken society and damaged men. None of these attributes are in evidence in the current government.

    C) Societal breakdown underlying this is a feature if globalization and neoliberalism both of which are eagerly subscribed to by the current government.

    The “kindness” government

  4. NZ gun homicide rate per 100 000 people:
    1 (same as Australia)
    NZ suicide rate per 100 000 people:

    Government initiates gun confiscation, destroys healthy outdoor sports in the process.
    Nothing on suicide prevention, it’s not sexy.
    Perfect stupidity.

  5. Martyn you and Mike King deseve to get a joint NZder of the year award as you are both the only two in the room that spoke about the male suicide rates going through the roof.

    All you BOTH said there should be paced on the HEADSTONE of all males who have taken their kives now.

    You have both bought some kindness to the ‘reality that has been ignored for some time now’, which was a ‘media beatup of the male gender’.

    Even my wife of 47yrs together understands the media harsh critisism of the male gender that actuallly had affected me.

    I wa feeling that even me as a white elder male was a bad person simply as a male.

    Media it;s time to stop vilifying males as bad evil people and show kindness as Mike King said to Jacinda today on Breakfast show’ Quote; “STOP THE RACIAL – GENDER PROFILING HERE NOW AS IT CAUSES MORE DAMAGE THAT YOU WILL EVER KNOW.”!!!!!

    MARTYN SAID; More young men, older men and old men destroying themselves in the ultimate act of self mutilation and despair.
    Tell those men in the grave about how much privilege they have.
    TDB Recommends
    No connection between the suicide rate with male depression and the negative messages we bombard men with.
    We NEVER as the why of suicide!
    We never ask WHY so many young men kill themselves!
    We never ask WHY so many older men kill themselves!
    We never ask WHY so many Māori & PI men kill themselves!
    In a media landscape where men are the first to be blamed and smeared, we never ask what that’s doing, we just mock and laugh their fragile toxic masculinity and drink their ‘delicious’ tears.
    Suicide is like a cultural scab we no longer pick at because the shame is too great and the weeping wound too painful to even acknowledge.
    The horror of our suicide rate gives us a glimpse behind the ‘she’ll be right’ facade of our society and the dark torment of an alpha male macho mental landscape that is terribly fragile.

    Very well said Martyn thank you for this. We sincerely hope Jacinda hears this message you and Mike have sent her. – “Stop the racial-gender profiling”.

  6. Perhaps it has something to do with the limited boundaries we place on males, young and old in New Zealand. We still – via social interactions and national media – subscribe to a restricted set of male attributes as being acceptable. Successful at business, sports, drinking and sexual attractiveness is constantly reinforced. While none of these are bad on their own, they ignore other positive aspects of men that contribute to their own and community wellbeing. Writing, dancing, listening, being involved with community and supporting others, probably a larger proportion of men work in other fields and have other interests than that we constantly are shown.

    I’ve never considered the term “toxic masculinity” to refer to males per se, I’ve always considered it to be the idea that limits the expression of masculinity to a certain number of archetypes, leaving men with a very proscribed set of behaviours and values that they are expected to adher to. It is not good for males or females to restrict options in that way.

    The lack of connection and community between all demographics, does not bode well for good health for individuals, families and the wider society.

    • Well I am very sceptical about the ability of the psychological profession and much less the ability of feminists to add anything meaningful to people who commit sideways, other than hip, catchy phrases to signal to there friends how intoouch with there feelings one is.

      Some men are confident enough in their masculinity to wear pink and like ponies. Others will constantly help, support and reassure the weak ones that it’s okay to be less masculine and more feminine which is as useful as claiming biological men (which is a dude with a penis) can be a woman so they can use the female toilet and compete in female sports.

      Women shouldn’t allow other people to shame them for what they like either. Thing is, I have a lot of trouble finding moral qualities that should be present for men that cannot fit for women either.

      A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

      There is no need to stick yourself to a profile, an archetype or to let yourself be defined by the perception of others. You are the most diverse and adaptive machine there is, and should damn well live up to the name. What is a man, or a human, is what you decide it to be.

      The problem is psychology won’t teach us anything about how to be masculine at all. We can do experiments on insects but when you get to something as complex as humans, almost anything you’ll look for in humans you will find aggression and violence very easily but we don’t need psychology to tell us about it because we can see it everywhere.

      Now we makes have to find courage and self sacrifice and a willingness to wade out into the waters of New Zealand to save Wales. We can find these things because you can find what ever you want to find in humans that you want to look for. Y’know different qualities manifests themselves from different backgrounds. But science just can’t tell us anything about this because it doesn’t reach far enough into anything that is worth looking at.

      In terms of self selecting and survival that may tell us something but it’s not a new idea. I don’t have a lot of evidence for this but Iv tried to argue that perhaps mutual aid and a commitment to help others could have survival value and maybe that’s what kind of creature we are but it is also the true that we are any other kind of creature as well.

      So if some one tells you they’re deeply depressed and wants to end it all in even the most vaguely and loose terms then don’t just give them some phone number you saw on the Internet, you call call the phone number and tell them to pick them up and take them to the hospital, the government has committed all at 2 billion dollars of new funding to mental health and it’s time to start spending that money where it matters.

      • Hi Sam,
        Interesting comment. However, wasn’t thinking of this from a psychological point of view, rather the observational experiences of a mother watching others interact with her three sons.

        I agree with you on your assertions of self-awareness, but I don’t believe that everyone has the same degree of resilience to withstand external pressures, and I also think that some actually carry significant loads from societal expectations. Because of that we should be doing both. Encouraging and celebrating diversity, AND changing the unnecessary societal pressures that exist.

        • Well in any event a coroners court will decide if it is a true suicide or just a short crises like maybe a girlfriend or boyfriend dumped you and maybe there was no reasonable hope, or it was a momentary depression and it was all over in 2-3 weeks. So I think it’s important to be prepared for all 3, the medical suicide, the psychological suicide and the metaphysical suicide. Each one has its own unique responses and reactions to each tree of knowledge, and obviously there is this giant wall of institutional silence around the medical and psychological responses so naturally we will look for a deeper meaning.

          I think that if there is an ethical position that embodies the beauty of this sin, it isn’t just that you see a son that doesn’t believe that he can be good, it is more radical than even an atheist could. In order to believe that society can be made clean or changed into something that is more pleasing to the believer, then you have to survive the fact that there is no God and no retribution and that Jesus sacrificed himself in vain. So you have to go through that zero point in order the cleanse society.

          It is easy to read this sin in a cheap religious way but it is not true that God isn’t here. God is here every time some one snaps out of it or denies revenge as a logical course of action or when someone chooses to sacrifice themselves, God is with them at those moments. But my point again is that and only the enlightened will know that ethics is not only independent of religion but to truly be good is to not belive. To be a good person with out sin you can not believe in a higher authority that controls and directs you and provides you with a cheap way out or excuses and so on.

          I claim that to be good there can be no hierarchy of philosopher kings waving there hands saying this is good, or this is bad like everything is heavily regulated and full totality. That no longer works as if traditional 20th century attitudes can persist in the 21st century. Y’know if you just look at one person that is not representative of a group, but if you pull back you can get a broad overview that contributes to the harmony of the entire picture.

          We can not look to a higher up and we can not look up to some one eager to hold our hand though life because when you’re in deep shit you can say oh no my mommy will get me out of it with sudden onset influenza or some sickly sweet guarantee. Well these guarantees absolutely falls flat at the feet of those 600 odd who committed sideways this year. So don’t worry, your suffering over here is just an excuse so pull back and you will be able to see the true harmony of the universe.

          I didn’t mean that to be literal. Your unique suffering is absolutely necessary. It is not true that humans are just grains of sands in the cosmic universe. When you are in a difficult ethical predicament, you’re only experience at that moment is to acknowledge that at that moment that the whole world was created for you because at that moment everything must be decided for the fate of the universe.

  7. Great Post.
    ” You can afford to lose your health, you can afford to lose your wealth but you can’t afford to lose your sense of humour.” Ronald Biggs. Train robber.
    There are things that we humans share with each other that other wee beasties share too but to a lessor degree. And those things are a sense of humour, to be pragmatic in the face of catastrophe and an intelligent appreciation of irony. Without those basic tools at our forefront? We’re fucked.
    A friend of mine, whom I’m sad to admit I haven’t seen in a very long time, showed me his vast collection of funny movies on CD and VHS. He told me that when he feels as if he’s about to be devoured by The Black Dog he watches funny films. Fixes him right up.
    Today? We have the wondrous interweb and the Tube of You.
    My favourite vine at the moment is the #Best Cube series and I think it might originate in Mother Russia. Sure. It has pretty female humans in skimpy under-smalls which I enjoy looking at too and I don’t give one fuck for what you Woke millennial, vegan, handwringing, quasi-femme prancing, mincing nancies might think of that because fuck it! I’m a man who loves women and I have more women friends than men friends I’ve just realised . I’m not sure how that is ? Some of you might think so too because you might think I’m a hideous, odious pervert ‘male’ whom you might assume climbs trees for nuts and berries when not rutting in the bushes like a thing that might like to rut in bushes after a diet of nuts and berries an’ that.
    Moving on. I also like to see funny animals doing funny things and people doing equally funny things and I laugh out loud until I have to turn to rnz for some bleak, brainless, humourless, endlessly reported misery to stop myself from having an asthma attack from laughing too much.
    Then? Sufficiently mentally armed up against being reduced to tears at the misery that’s caused to us by a tiny, teensy few little creatures in suits who harvest us like fish from the barrel of debt they keep us in for their pleasures? I feel ok and can go out the door and back into Hell again.
    People contemplating suicide? KEEP THE FUCK AWAY FROM ALCOHOL!
    Rescue a pound dog and get aerobically fit together. Dopamine and endorphins is why and cheaper than E too and, in this anal retentive little back water of a country we have re drugs, thanks pete dunne aka Bow Tie Boy, you know what you’re getting. Worry about your feeling shit later. Do those things first. Then see how you feel?
    Lets go find roger douglas? Where is he? Where does he lurk? He’s likely hanging upside down in david seymour’s office closet where he keeps his twerking costume. Lets go and find him? Lets go and get our money and stuff and things back off him and his mates? Lets be richer and work less? Lets be safer and love each other more? Lets be funny and inclusive? Lets do those things?
    I’m fucking serious. Where is he? Lets get him arrested for treason? Lets get him in court?
    Dang. I just broke my reading glasses.

  8. Nor do we make the direct connect between self-violence and family violence and bullying, and the ways we are living against the environment.

    We do not teach the gentle crafts of making and keeping friends: men with men; men with women; women with women. Straight with trans or gay. Ethnicity with ethnicity. People with the vital life of the planet.

    Making friends is NOT wired in from birth. It must be learned, developed, sustained regardless of life circumstance e.g unpaid worker or paid worker. Transient or permanent. Older or youger.

    So we get loneliness and alienation. Blaming. Victimising. Finger-pointing. Failing to take responsibility for the work that is rightfully within our power to start and improve. It’s within our circle of control and needs nothing from ‘other people should’.

    We don’t know how to bargain, make and keep honorable agreements, build trust and nourishing friendships – regardless of cultural preferences. We ALL need to learn and use this craft because then the people who are currently despairing will know how to go about it and find their healthy living niche and network. And be received by other knowing people. Helped along over the rough patches.

    And, if we can, we can maybe live in co-operation with our environment instead of ripping off and ruining.

    It all fits together.

    Can we?

    • I faced a problem as a new dad, whether or not to allow my children to starve or become dependant on the state and my family or do something about it. Of course we all turned out okay.

      If you’re poor you can’t tell your children oh don’t worry because you can’t eat this week so you go into debt. Of course if we followed the policies of Bill English you could get easy credit from payday lenders which solves one problem and crests many more and pretty soon your children are starving so people commit sideways.

      That’s why suicides are sharply rising because of you take funding away from State Assets so you can build irrigation for export instead of feeding ourselves first then you’ll get a sharp rise in suicides.

      Something like 2/3rds of New Zealanders live in rural areas (it used to all of us who live in rural areas). So we would follow the seasons and migratory patterns. Well since modern Agriculture the population has had to flee the countryside because modern agriculture has devastated rural areas so all the poor people can move into the National Party’s modern living environments which are people living in cars and slums.

      As I was saying before it is far more easier to teach armchair psychologist economics than it is for armchair psychologists to quit deviating scarce resources away from productive purposes and into psycho babel clap traps.

  9. Life is dark enough in an existential sense for anyone with half a brain–we are all on a one way trip to oblivion–as a finite life entails, I know well off people that have topped themselves, “empty a bottle, feel a bit free”, any distraction, extreme sports, etc. to avoid thinking about the end awaiting us all.

    Now on that gleeful note, I am not saying go do it!, or being uncaring for people on the edge, but, in terms of numbers of suicides, things will only get worse until the legacy of Roger’n’Ruth–Neo liberalism–is ripped out of our lives and legislation for good. The majority of people in this country are worse off in many terms of what it means to have a life, than NZers were in the 70s.

  10. When will workplace bullying be addressed? When will workplace bullying be seen in its real light, as a leading cause of depression and anger and feelings of alienation and worthlessness? When will there be a truth and reconciliation commission be set up in order for the victims of the insidious management practices of targeting good workers and ruining their lives with micro-managing harassment to the point that they take their lives? When will these management arseholes be made accountable? When will the culture of the workplace change and it becomes unacceptable for emotionally stunted bitter little bullies to have charge over other people’s lives? When will these pricks be weeded out for the scum that they are, even as they keep collecting their over-inflated paypackets and get endlessly promoted as assets to their organisation? When will this absurd corporate neoliberal culture be recognised for what it is – the absolute opposite of citizen freedom and democracy, the absolute opposite of staff consultation and wellbeing, the absolute epitomy of abusive and brutal hierarchical fascism?

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