Riding For Youth Suicide Prevention


Local Physiotherapist Matthew Brettkelly and his wife, Pilates aficionado Stephanie Neutze are getting geared up for their February 2020 Tour Aotearoa (TA) ride from Cape Reinga to Bluff. They hope to take thirty days to cover the 3,000 kilometre journey which winds its way through the country side.

Steph and Matt feel this is an opportune time to fundraise for a worthy cause. “It saddens us that New Zealand has the highest rate of youth suicide in the developed world – because this is so we have decided to ride for Youthline and in particular youth suicide prevention,” the couple said. “We would love to reach our goal of raising $10,000, so any donation you wish to give will be much appreciated, as we try and o ‘our bit together’ towards preventing youth suicide in this country.

“We feel uncomfortable asking people to contribute, but the gravity of this youth suicide statistic has us thinking that we need to try and do something to help our young people realise that there is a better way,” Matt said.

Youthline is a first point of contact for young people across New Zealand to access a wide range of youth development and support services. One in five texts to Youthline relate specifically to suicide and two in five, relate to suicide, depression, self-harm and anxiety.

Youthline do life changing work through their Helpline:

  • $15 – Gives fifteen minutes. Help a young person make first contact.
  • $30 – The average length of a phone counselling session.
  • $60 – When someone is in crisis, there is no average. These connections take time. Help support the 24/7 crisis team.
  • $90 – Will keep the Helpline Services running for an hour.
  • $120 – Gives six young people ten minutes of much needed phone support; when they need it the most.

“Steph and I have often talked about riding the length of NZ,” Matt said, “what a great way to see this stunning country of ours. The 3000 kilometre TA is a bike-packing brevet which means carrying everything  needed while not being allowed any outside assistance (“unless you pay for it – i.e. food, bike repairs, accommodation…,” Matt added). “It is not a race and you can take as long as you like to complete the event,” they explained. “However to say you have successfully completed the TA brevet you must finish in sixteen to thirty days, while having photographic evidence of thirty preordained places of significance. One of the attractions for us is that the course is off the beaten track, connecting a lot of the mountain bike trails that course through the Country. Our children think we are crazy, but I prefer to think we enjoy a challenge,” Steph and Matt smiled.

“As the parents of twenty and seventeen year old children it saddens us that New Zealand has such an atrocious rate of youth suicide. It is incredibly sad that our young people are choosing not to live, when there is so much that they can live for. We are often told by our children that times are different now and that ‘it is much harder growing up and being a young person’. Maybe they are right, we did not have to put up with the close scrutiny of social media. Our response to them is that they should be true to themselves, treat all people with the respect they deserve and have integrity,” both Steph and Matt stressed.

The pair have already kickstarted their fundraising and by going to:

give.everydayhero.com/nz/steph-and-matts-cycle-tour-in-support-of-suicide-prevention the community can help too.