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Suicide prevention strategy being assessed

Anderton says suicide prevention strategy being assessed

Associate Minister of Health Jim Anderton has welcomed the contribution to the understanding of suicide from research released today by Annette Beautrais from the University of Canterbury. ‘ “It is important that there is ongoing discussion and research on how best we can progress the implementation of a suicide strategy to encompass all ages,” said Jim Anderton.

“We already know that the highest rate of suicide is men aged between 25 to 55, what we need to look at is how to extend our effective youth suicide prevention strategy to all ages.

“Every suicide is tragic whether the person is old or young. But the focus on youth suicide has been because New Zealand had high levels of youth suicide compared to other OECD countries. We had the second highest rate in 1998 and the fourth highest in 2000, which is unacceptably high.

“I am, however, looking at the data to see if we can improve strategies to deal with suicide across the range of different age groups. The 2003 Budget contained measures to prevent suicides that address all ages by working with families where there has been a suicide or an attempted suicide.

“Latest figures on the rates of suicide are encouraging and provide support to continue efforts in the area of suicide prevention.

“Provisional all age suicide statistics for the year 2000 (the latest figures) released by the Ministry of Health show the total number of suicide deaths has decreased markedly to 458 in 2000, from a peak in 1998 of 577 and 516 in 1999. The 2000 figure is the lowest number in 14 years.

“It's encouraging to see the number of suicide deaths coming down, especially by more than 100 in two years to the lowest number since 1986. However 458 suicides still represents an unacceptably number of preventable deaths,” said Jim Anderton.

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