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Timely petition reaches Parliament

Sinead Latimer with independent MP Jami-Lee Ross in Parliament when she presented her petition last Wednesday. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

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Kuranui College student Sinead Latimer’s petition to help young people struggling with mental health issues has reached Parliament’s select committee.

Latimer’s petition to provide all primary schools in New Zealand with counsellors reached 1286 signatures before it was handed in last week.

The 13-year-old travelled to Parliament last Wednesday to hear her petition read out.

There she met independent MP Jami-Lee Ross, who had encouraged Latimer to start the petition after the teen suicide awareness march outside Parliament earlier this year.

“It was cool to see Jami again, get shown around,” Latimer said. “I went places a majority of people don’t get to see.

“It was cool seeing our prime minister standing there talking and asking questions. It was crazy.”

Latimer said she would receive a letter asking her to speak in front of Parliament’s select committee where she’ll have 10 minutes to get her final point across and answer MPs questions.

“My family’s super supportive and stuff, same with my friends. They were saying how proud of me they were. It’s crazy knowing that I have this much support around me.

“It’s not just friends, I’m hearing from complete strangers who just agree with my petition. One girl who lives close to me messaged me saying thank you for starting this petition.”

Latimer has suffered depression for three years, due to being bullied and was spurred on to do something after a 15-year-old friend took her own life last year.

“As I’m sure everyone knows there’s bullying that happens everywhere and things that happen at home and so many stressful things that even a younger mind can’t comprehend.

“Since having a counsellor at high school it’s so helpful to let things out and explain it and get strategies to help you cope.”

Where to get help

These 24/7 free phones are operated by trained counsellors who can help you talk through problems and identify ways of coping.

Lifeline: 0800 543 354 [Available 24/7]

Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 [0508 Tautoko] [Available 24/7]

Youthline: 0800 376 633 Need To Talk? Free Call Or Text 1737 [Available 24/7]

Kidsline: 0800 543 754 [Available 24/7]

Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 [1pm to 11pm]

Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757 [Available 24/7]

Samaritans: 0800 726 666

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