Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has today released the draft suicide prevention strategy for consultation.
“Suicidal behaviour affects a significant number of people every year, and has substantial impacts on the individual as well as on their families, friends, and wider community,” says Dr Coleman.
“Our suicide rate is too high with approximately 500 deaths a year. I’m particularly worried about the rates for youth, and specifically Maori and Pacific young people.
“Although improvements have been made these rates are still too high and there is always more we can do.
“The release of the draft suicide prevention strategy for consultation provides an opportunity for individuals and organisations to give feedback on the priority actions that will help guide suicide prevention activities.
“The draft strategy acknowledges the need for input and engagement from right across society. Health services, particularly mental health services, and Government agencies cannot do this work alone.
“It also builds on the previous strategy with a proposed stronger focus on opportunities across Government to better manage integrated responses and share information.”
The Ministry of Health has held 23 workshops around the country with families, providers, clinicians, academics, and other government agencies which have helped inform development of the draft strategy.
Some of the themes to emerge from preparatory work on how to prevent suicide included:the need for a broad cross-society and cross-government approach; further work to reduce the stigma around suicide and mental illness; encouraging safe conversations about suicide; further increasing the access to support and professional help, and increasing ongoing support for parents and families.
“This work is being supported by the extra $300 million the Government has invested into mental health and addiction services. Taking the total health spend in this area to over $1.4 billion for this financial year,” says Dr Coleman.