Minister welcomes stories of hope on World Suicide Prevention Day

  • Hon Dr David Clark

Health Minister Dr David Clark says it’s encouraging to see an increasing focus on those who have come through the other side of mental health challenges as we grapple with high suicide numbers.

“An estimated 150,000 New Zealanders wrestle with suicidal thoughts each year and the vast majority have subsequently gone on to lead very fulfilling and full lives,” David Clark said.

“I’m inspired by stories of hope. It’s imperative that there are survivors’ stories - people who are living good lives who wrestled with these issues and found a way through. We should also celebrate those who have supported people through this as well.”

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day and this year it comes just a month after the Chief Coroner’s provisional data suggested 668 New Zealanders took their own lives in the last year.

“Behind each of those deaths are whanau, friends and communities who will have felt deeply the loss of a loved one.

“Tackling this ongoing tragedy and improving our wider mental health approach is a major priority for this Government. That’s why we launched the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction as part of our first 100 days programme, and it is due to report back to Government by the end of next month.

“I expect clear directions from the Inquiry on reducing the number of New Zealanders who take their own lives each year. This will be due in part to those who have taken the time to tell the inquiry of their own experiences and I thank them for their courage.

Background: Other mental health initiatives launched by the Government include extending school based health services to an extra 24,000 students in decile 4 schools, dedicated mental health support in primary and intermediate schools in Canterbury and Kaikoura through the Mana Ake programme, an Integrated Therapies pilot programme to provide free counselling for 18 to 25 year olds, new drug and detox facilities at Auckland City Mission and a new six-unit mental health secure facility.