Government enquiry finds urgent need for suicide prevention

April 10, 2019

Government enquiry finds urgent need for suicide prevention

Health Minister David Clark, pictured, said preventing the countries growing suicide rates would take a “whole community response”. Credit: Demelza Jackson

New Zealanders can expect a Government response on the countries growing suicide rates in upcoming weeks, after a report on mental health has shown urgent need for preventative action, says Health Minister David Clark.

Dr Clark told a public meeting that while he cannot comment on what the Government response would be, everybody should recognise that as a country we have a “real issue” with suicide.

“There’s no two ways about it. It is something that will take the whole community to change.

“It is so important that we make ourselves available to our friends and family who are struggling and that people are willing to have those conversations,” he said at the public meeting about health in West Auckland on March 26.

Dr Clark said he also accepted that the Government has a “role to play” in dealing with the issue and would need to step up.

“We, as a country, need to make sure that its ok for people to talk about the challenges that they’re facing.”

The release of the report in December of 2018 followed a year-long Government inquiry into mental health and addiction, led by former Health and Disability Commissioner Ron Paterson.

The report concluded that suicide prevention in New Zealand had “a lack of resources and effective implementation” and that a “comprehensive, well-resourced suicide prevention strategy and implementation plan must be urgently completed” by the Government.

Annual provisional figures for the year to June 2018 showed that 668 New Zealanders committed suicide, making it the fourth consecutive year the number has grown.

The report covered over 5200 submissions.

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