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Connecting with each other key to suicide prevention

MEDIA RELEASE

26 August 2013

Connecting with each other key to suicide prevention

Following the release of the Chief Coroner’s annual provisional suicide figures, the Mental Health Foundation is urging New Zealanders to connect with each other, and not be afraid to ask some hard questions.

“Suicide rates in New Zealand have decreased from their peak in the late 90s” says Moira Clunie, Development Manager for Suicide Prevention Information New Zealand (SPINZ), “but the coroner’s data indicates that the rates have not decreased in recent years.”

Witi Ashby, Maori Development Manager says, “It is encouraging to see that last year’s spike in Maori suicide rates has not been repeated in the year 2012-2013, thanks to those who are out there actively working to prevent suicide in their communities, particularly in Northland.

“It’s a good development, but not good enough. We still have some way to go.”

The latest Suicide Prevention Action Plan indicates a sense of renewed focus in the field of suicide prevention, and the MHF hopes to see initiatives introduced by the Plan make a difference to suicide rates in New Zealand.

Organisations all over New Zealand are working with groups who are at risk of suicide to address their needs and encourage them to seek help, but it’s also important to remember that each of us can play a part in preventing suicide.

“If you’re worried about somebody and concerned for their welfare, reach out to them and don’t be afraid to ask if they’re thinking about suicide,” says Ms Clunie.

“You don’t need to be a counsellor to offer your support. Let the person know that you care and that they’re not alone. Take them seriously, and help them to contact their GP, a helpline, or a counsellor.”

Information about finding a doctor or mental health professional, or finding a counsellor, is available on the SPINZ website.

It is important to note that although our rates of youth suicide are higher than average for OECD countries, New Zealand’s overall suicide rates is in fact below average for OECD countries.

ENDS

Note for media: When reporting on this story, please remember to include helplines. The helplines are:

Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)

Lifeline – 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland

Depression Helpline (8 am to 12 midnight) – 0800 111 757

Healthline – 0800 611 116

Samaritans – 0800 726 666 (for callers from the Lower North Island, Christchurch and West Coast) or 0800 211 211 / 04 472 3676 (for callers from all other regions)

Youthline – 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email talk@youthline.co.nz

Kidsline (aimed at children up to 14 years of age; 4 pm to 6 pm weekdays) – 0800 54 37 54 (0800 kidsline)

All helplines are 24/7 unless otherwise noted.

Additional information

SPINZ resources available from the Mental Health Foundation include:

Responding to people at risk of suicide – how can you and your organisation help? – a booklet concerning appropriate responses to managing suicide and self harm. It is designed for organisations and individuals who do not have a primary role in supporting people at risk of suicide, but may have contact with people at risk of suicide as part of their core business.

Information on Suicide Prevention – a series of videos presented by Judy Bailey on a range of topics including warning signs, risk factors, suicide bereavement, caring for someone who is suicidal, suicide in communities and suicide myths.

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