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Evaluation of Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy

Evaluation of Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy

Today the Ministry of Social Development released Stage One findings of an evaluation of the New Zealand Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy.

The Associate Minister of Health, Jim Anderton, who is responsible for youth suicide prevention, welcomes the findings.

“The strategy is now five years old and this evaluation is important in guiding future investment in existing and new initiatives”, said Mr Anderton.

The evaluation was conducted by the Centre for Social Research and Evaluation, within the Ministry of Social Development, to gauge how effective the New Zealand Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy has been in guiding government and community work in this important area of youth health. Stage one of the evaluation involved 62 participants from government and non-governmental organisations as the strategy’s key stakeholders.

“I am extremely encouraged to find that stakeholders have widely commended the strategy as a vital reference tool that identifies best-practice principles and provides consistent advice”, said Mr Anderton.

The findings showed that the strategy has helped people, communities and organisations understand the complexity of youth suicide prevention work. It has also been used within teaching programmes and in the development of training workshops.”

“Stakeholders acknowledged that the strategy has brought a clearer focus on what is important in youth suicide prevention and has resulted in useful resources for various groups and new initiatives such as SPINZ (youth Suicide Prevention Information New Zealand) and Child, Youth and Family case monitoring”, said Mr Anderton.

The evaluation identified areas for improvement. Stakeholders agreed that implementation of the strategy could have been better.

“Stakeholders have signalled that better planning and more communication was needed. They also felt that the strategy now needs updating to reflect new research and evidence on youth suicide prevention”, said Mr Anderton.

The last Budget allocated an extra $300,000 over 2 years for youth suicide prevention and $2.6 million over 4 years for assistance to families where there has been a suicide or a suicide attempt.

“The extra funding will be used to strengthen the strategy’s application, and the findings from the evaluation will play an important part in planning as well as help inform the current development of an all age suicide prevention strategy”, concluded Mr Anderton.

The Ministry of Youth Development (formerly the Ministry of Youth Affairs) will continue to lead and coordinate implementation of the strategy.

Stage Two of the evaluation will focus on youth suicide prevention work in the field, and will be conducted early in 2004. ENDS

For information about the New Zealand Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy contact: Sue van Daatselaar, National Coordinator New Zealand Youth Suicide Prevention, Ministry of Youth Development. Phone 04 916 4948 or mobile 025 244 6415.

Evaluation report: The report is available on the Ministry of Social Development website – http://www.msd.govt.nz with links to it from http://www.youthaffairs.govt.nz and http://www.spinz.org.nz

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