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World Suicide Prevention Day, 10 September 2004

Friday 10 September

World Suicide Prevention Day, 10 September 2004

Suicide prevention is everyone's business, Associate Health Minister Jim Anderton said today, the second World Suicide Prevention Day.

“Everyone has a role in the prevention of suicide, including friends, family, colleagues, community workers, mental health workers, researchers and community representatives," he said.

The International Association for Suicide Prevention, in conjunction with the World Health Organization, has designated September 10 as a day to emphasise our collective responsibility to become involved in preventing suicide.

According to WHO figures, approximately 1 million people die from suicide each year around the world, representing one death every 40 seconds.

Over the past few years, New Zealand’s suicide rate has trended down which is encouraging and may be an indication that community and government efforts at suicide prevention are having a positive effect.

“But everyone knows that, with the loss of around 500 lives each year, our suicide rate in New Zealand remains unacceptably high and there is more that the government and the community can and should do together to reduce this loss," Jim Anderton said.

While young New Zealanders continue to have a high rate of suicide by international standards, most New Zealanders who die by suicide are over the age of 25 years. The most recently published data, for 2001, show that 78 percent of people who died by suicide were aged 25 years or older.

Background:

The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Youth Development are currently leading the development of an all age suicide prevention strategy. The strategy will build on the gains made by the New Zealand Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy published in 1998.

The strategy will recognise that suicide prevention involves a range of government agencies, local government, community and iwi groups, service providers, schools, prisons, district health boards, and the media.

In the 2004 Budget, the Labour-Progressive government allocated $5.52 million over the next four financial years for new suicide prevention measures.

The new measures are aimed at all age groups and build on the New Zealand Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy. They include: improving assessment and management of people at risk of suicide; planning and designing a national initiative to combat depression; expanding the services of Suicide Prevention Information New Zealand (SPINZ); and reprinting suicide prevention guidelines for schools.

In the Budget 2003, the Labour-Progressive government made a $2.6 million provision over four financial years to support families and whanau that have suffered the loss of a family member to suicide or have suffered the trauma of having a family member attempt suicide. Budget 2003 also increased operational funding for the Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy.

Link to Suicide Facts: Provisional 2001 Statistics (all ages) http://www.moh.govt.nz/moh.nsf/wpg_index/Publications-Suicide+Facts+-+Provisional+2001+Statistics

Link to SPINZ (Suicide Prevention Information New Zealand) www.spinz.org.nz

Link to IASP website www.med.uio.no/iasp/

ENDS

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