Combating Suicide.


One person kills themselves every three days in Auckland, according to a suicide prevention researcher.


Dr Simon Hatcher, Senior Lecturer in Psychiatry at The University of Auckland's Department of Psychological Medicine, says that although New Zealand has one of the highest rates of youth suicide in the world, 80 percent of all suicide victims are around the age of 25.


"People should be aware of what the early warning signs are and what to do about it," he said.


Suicide Prevention Information New Zealand director Merryn Stratham says untreated depression is often a key factor in cases of suicide. "(There are) precipitating factors, for young people it is often a relationship bust up, or some situation where they have really lost face in a big way."


Sandy's Story


Everything that Sandy Goulevitch had been working towards for three years had come down to one last examination. He was the most promising candidate, and he expected to excel. But he failed.


And three weeks later he killed himself.


Sandy was 29-years-old, a helicopter pilot, with many creative talents and a wide circle of friends.


No one thought that Sandy would kill himself.


But when his mother, Robyn Goulevitch, opened the door to Police, she instantly knew her son was dead.


"He really, unbeknown to us, was in dire straits - and he had a big disappointment which was the catalyst for his death, I certainly don't think it was the cause. I don't think anybody kills themselves over one thing," she said.


Sandy would have turned 32 in March.



ALWAYS THERE: Two and a half years after the death of her younger brother Sandy, Michelle Goulevitch still thinks about him every day.

(Sarah Matheson/The Epoch Times).


The Aftermath


Michelle Goulevitch had to identify the body of her younger brother and organise his funeral.


"When we had seen him up at the mortuary it still looked like him...then when they prepped him up, I guess the whole process of the body stiffening, the face looked really puffy and his hair wasn't right."


The funeral director explained how the body swells after death. And because Sandy had died from carbon monoxide poisoning his skin had also changed colour.


At that point Michelle and Robyn decided to take Sandy home. The whole weekend the house was filled with visitors, Michelle recalled.


"Then at the end of the day...when everybody was gone... I would go in there and sit with him.


"Most of his face felt very cold... and very hard. But there was this tiny part of him on his right cheek, under the eye that was still really soft.


Two and a half years on from his death, Michelle still thinks about her brother every day.


"It's hard to not look back at those three weeks and think... what did I miss? But that's purely academic, you can't go back in time," Michelle said.


A Man With Boundless Potential


Sandy invested three years chasing his dream to fly helicopters for the armed services. He even returned to high school at the age of 26 for Seventh Form Certificate.


After receiving his certificate he reapplied to fly for the armed forces. After a series of grueling tests where people were being weeded out, the final test was called the 'monkey box' and was like a simulated cockpit.


"Unfortunately the night before the test he'd been having some back problems and he hadn't slept because of his back," Michelle said.


Sandy failed the test.


Because there is an element of memory involved he was told he would never be able to sit it again.


"So basically, his whole dream, what he had been working toward for the last three years was completely shattered." Sandy fell into a deep depression.


"We were doing our best to try and support him through it, it was quite hard to get through to him, he really just almost switched off," Michelle said.


Suicide Figures


At least 350 New Zealanders have died from suicide every year over the last 20 years, and at least 2100 per year have been hospitalised for intentional self-harm, according to the Ministry of Health.


Males are more likely to kill themselves than females. In 2002-2004 there were 3.1 male suicides to every female suicide, this did not change from 2001-2003.


The average rate of suicide for Māori was 17.1 deaths per 100,000 population in 2002-2004. This is a 13.2% increase from that of 2001-2003 (15.1 per 100,000 population) and a 17.9% decrease from that of 1996-1998.