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Evaluation of Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy

25 January 2005

Evaluation of Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy

The Ministry of Social Development has today released the second phase of its evaluation of the New Zealand Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy (NZYSPS).

Associate Health Minister Jim Anderton, who is responsible for youth suicide prevention, welcomed the findings of the evaluation. “The strategy is now six years old and this work is an important part of ongoing evaluations to help ensure we are on track to address this complex and difficult issue.”

The NZYSPS was set up to provide a “best practice” framework for Government and non-Government agencies working in the field of youth suicide prevention and to provide a co-ordinated response to the problem.

The aim of the evaluation, conducted by the Ministry of Social Development’s Centre for Social Research and Evaluation, was to gauge how effective the strategy has been in guiding government and community work in this important area of youth health.

The first phase of the evaluation, completed last year, involved 58 participants from government and non-governmental organisations as the strategy’s key stakeholders. The second phase, just completed, focused on the views of 28 community and professional organisations working with young people.

“It is extremely encouraging to find that stakeholders widely commended the strategy as a credible and trustworthy document that identifies best-practice principles and provides consistent advice,” Mr Anderton said.

“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 also acknowledged it has resulted in useful resources for various groups and initiatives such as SPINZ (Suicide Prevention Information New Zealand),” he said.

“However, stakeholders agreed there were some barriers to implementation of the strategy, including a need for greater clarity about its purpose and how it should be applied, and that better planning and more communication was needed. They also felt that the strategy now needs to be updated to reflect new research and evidence on youth suicide prevention.”

In response, a more comprehensive strategy designed to reflect latest research and address suicide issues across all age groups is being developed jointly by the Ministry of Youth Development (MYD) and the Ministry of Health.

A range of initiatives are also being progressed by the MYD to support those dealing and working with youth suicide, including improving the quality of available information, giving more training for service providers, and piloting some new services.

ENDS

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