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Youth Suicide Programme 'Helpful'

16 October 2000 Media Statement

Deputy Prime Minister Jim Anderton believes a TV3 programme on youth suicide will make a very helpful contribution to the issue.

TV3 is broadcasting an Inside New Zealand programme on Wednesday night based on the drama 'Questions?' The programme looks at three suicides and the circumstances surrounding them.

Mr Anderton watched a preview of the programme last night, and believes it will contribute to improving NZ society's attitudes to youth suicide and our ability to deal with the problems surrounding it.

"Programmes about suicide need to be viewed with caution because they always raise the issue of reaction. But if we forever tried to avoid the issue of reaction we would simply be burying the issue in the hearts and minds of young people.

"We should be confronting the issue openly and honestly as a community. This issue is too real to pretend otherwise.

"The programme is primarily aimed at parents and those caring in the community for suicidal young people. It opens up the opportunity for dialogue between all of us who are one way or another inevitably affected by the tragedy of youth suicide.

"We should not fear such sensitive treatment of the issue and we should welcome the opportunity to confront it."

Jim Anderton discussed the programme with the Minister of Youth Affairs, Laila Harre.

"Laila Harre is taking a leadership role in the issue of youth suicide. The government funded youth suicide prevention agency, SPINZ, recently produced a community suicide prevention kit which focuses on the healthy development of young people and alerts us to some of the risk factors and signs that may indicate a young person in crisis.

"This issue is a high priority for the government and a group of ministers is in consultation with community groups. I fully support this work and will commit any assistance I can," Jim Anderton said.

Ends

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