Mum of 10-year-old suicide victim speaks out

THE mum of a 10-year-old who took his own life says children should be taught more about how to deal with emotions, to avoid further tragedy.

Oliver Nicolson, described as a "sensitive sweetheart" and a "deep thinker", killed himself in 2009.

His family believed he was being bullied as he was reluctant to go to school at the time.

Mother Sue Nicolson told Fairfax she believed her son would not have fully understood the consequences of his actions, that he "didn't know that it would be the end."

She said Oliver had only just turned 10. "I look at the photos on my wall and I think; 'how can anybody that age, when life should be full of innocence and fun and laughter, why should anybody have the weight of the world on their shoulders?"

She said parents needed to go back to basics and teach their children about emotions to build resilience.

At the time of Oliver's death, she told media she had tried to talk to her son about bullying but, "he never opened up about it".

The coroner subsequently ruled there was an element of premeditation involved.

Mrs Nicolson's comments come in the wake of several other child suicide cases, including the suspected self-inflicted death of 12-year-old Kyana Vergara, from Palmerston North on January 11.

Family members believe Kyana had also been the victim of bullying - in her case her family discovered troubling social media postings in her accounts after her death. Kyana's death has been referred to the coroner.

Last year in total 564 people committed suicide in New Zealand, including 10 children between the ages of 10 and 14. The first suicide of a child aged between 5-9 appeared in 2012.

At the time Chief Coroner Neil Maclean said suicide had to be "brought out of the shadows" and he was worried by the increases in certain demographics.

"I am concerned that we seem to be making no impact - there has been no visible downward trend at all. Our job is to tell the public the facts - I am no more qualified to suggest an answer or a solution than anyone.

If you feel you or anyone close to you need help, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14.