Government saddened by suicide statistics

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Dr David Clark say provisional data on suicides for the 2017/18 year is sobering and underlines just how much work we have to do to improve our mental health and wellbeing.

“It is a tragedy that so many New Zealanders took their lives in a single year,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“Behind each of those statistics is not just a life lost, but a devastated family and a shattered community.

“It is critically important that people – wherever they are in the country – can access help when they need it. We know we need to do more to make sure that happens.

“We must keep reminding each other that it’s not wrong or weak to talk about how we are feeling, but vital to our mental health. Sadly there is still stigma around doing that.

Health Minister Dr David Clark said he had made mental health a priority for the Government.

“In the Coalition Government’s first 100 days we responded to the public call for an Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction.

“I gave the Inquiry a strong direction by ensuring its terms of reference included an examination of current work on suicide prevention and support for those close to someone who has taken their own life.

“The Inquiry was also given deliberately wide terms of reference so that it could look at everything from the drivers of mental health issues to the provision of mental health services and the wider community response to these issues.

“These are incredibly complex and difficult issues. No one should pretend there are easy answers – but I am confident the Inquiry will come back with robust and far-reaching recommendations when it reports at the end of October,” said David Clark.

 

NOTE: The Government has launched a number of mental health initiatives while the Inquiry has been underway. These include:

• Extending school based health services to an extra 24,000 students in decile 4 secondary schools.

• Putting dedicated mental health support in primary and intermediate schools in Kaikoura and Canterbury through the Mana Ake programme.

• Launching the Integrated Therapies pilot for 18 to 25 year olds, aimed at those with mild to moderate mental health needs.

• The Government has funded new drug and detox facilities at Auckland City Mission and a six-unit secure facility to provide individualised care for some of our most vulnerable and high-needs intellectual disability and mental health patients.

• Budget 2018 also made going to the doctor cheaper for almost 600,000 people from December, so that more people can get the help they need when they need it.