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Tu Kotahi safe way to tackle suicidal peers
©Ezekiel Raui

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Developing a peer to peer support programme to tackle youth suicide has earned a Whatuwhiwhi rangatahi a trip to see the Queen.

Ezekiel Raui is off to London on Friday to receive a Queen's Young Leaders Award.

He says he had the idea for Tu Kotahi after losing friends to suicide five years ago.

A visit to his far north school by mental health campaigner Mike King provided the opportunity to develop it further, and it’s now one being piloted in schools.

He says it’s not about training young people to be counsellors.

"Tu Kotahi’s aim is to equip them with the tools to be able to support their peers without taking on the burden of any of their raru so it’s surrounding them with all the services in their local community, providing them online self-evaluation tools for their peers who are going through a tough time to use instead of taking the responsibility on themselves to ask those patai and it’s just about providing a safe environment should one of their peers approach them," Mr Raui says.

As well as meeting the Queen - he has asked permission to greet her with a hongi - Mr Raui is looking forward to visiting Cambridge University where he hopes to study.

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