Hundreds gather outside Parliament to call for better mental health funding

Warning: This article discusses suicide.

People carried portraits of their loved ones lost to suicide to the top of the steps, leaving them outside Parliament's doors.

Those left behind, carrying the photos of their dead - young people who should still be here.

"What's left for us that are left behind? Where's the support for us?" said Monica McLaughlin.

"Because when I lost my little brother and then my younger cousin again in March just gone, there's nothing left for us that are left behind."

Her brother, Takanui Peneaha McLaughlin, was known to his mates and whanau as Taks. He was just 12 when he killed himself in 2017.

Monica is hoping the message she and hundreds of others brought to Parliament on Monday will stop another life ending so young.

"We ain't the only ones - everybody's out here struggling, the struggle's real out here. Our kids are really dying, save our streets," said McLaughlin.

Marchers are calling for better funding from the Government, and a rethink of the mental health system.

Jami Lee Ross is supporting the calls for help after facing his own challenges last year, when he checked into a mental health facility.

He chanted for the Prime Minister to help.

"Jacinda Ardern we need your help, Jacinda Ardern we need your help."

Security wanted to keep the marchers behind barricades and off Parliament's forecourt - but they pushed through, walking right up to the ceremonial doors to deliver their message and photos.

The Government will release its 'Wellbeing' Budget later this month.

"This is a Government that's determined to take mental health issues seriously; we launched the inquiry into mental health and addiction in our first 100 days," said Health Minister David Clark.

A budget which these crowds want to be focused on saving lives rather than money.


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