Roncalli College principal has no concerns about Mike King

Mike King

Unlike some other principals in South Canterbury, Roncalli College’s Chris Comeau, has brushed off the concerns raised by the South Canterbury District Health Board (SCDHB) about Mental health crusader Mike King speaking to his students.

“While I can appreciate their concerns, I think it would be far more effective for all of us to get in behind the visit and take advantage of Mike’s high profile to address the issue surrounding mental health,” he said.

“After weighing up all the information and researching the Lighthouse Trust, I feel quite comfortable with my decision to host Mike King.”

Some schools in South Canterbury have withdraw invitations to King to after after being contacted by SCDHB suicide prevention co-ordinator Professor Annette Beautrais.

SCDHB chief executive Nigel Trainor confirmed they had raised concerns about King’s visit with the schools.

However he said, “Since then we have had discussions with Mike King which have highlighted that our goals are aligned.”

“We are working with Mike King and will support his visits.”

Last year in a TV interview, Beautrais claimed suicide should never be mentioned in headlines or on the front page of newspapers, wrongly attributing this to Ministry of Health Suicide Prevention Strategy reporting guidelines.

In fact, the guidelines urge media organisations to report suicide in a straightforward manner by providing concise and factual information, and to promote help and information services.

King said Beautrais advocated a “silent” approach to tackling suicide. According to King, Beautrais was in one of the last pockets of academia who still believed in trying to bring down the stubbornly high suicide rates by burying their heads in the sand.

National helplines

  • Lifeline – 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland
  • Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
  • Healthline – 0800 611 116
  • Samaritans – 0800 726 666 (for callers from the Lower North Island, Christchurch and West Coast) or 0800 211 211  or (04) 473 9739 For callers from all other regions

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News category: New Zealand, Top Story.

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