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Further initiatives for suicide prevention funded

Hon Jim Anderton

Minister of Agriculture, Minister for Biosecurity
Minister of Fisheries, Minister of Forestry
Associate Minister of Health
Associate Minister for Tertiary Education

Progressive Leader

10 May 2007 EMBARGOED TO 12.30PM Media statement

Further initiatives for suicide prevention funded

Jim Anderton, Leader of the Progressive Party and Associate Minister of Health, announced today $23.1 million over four years to support a range of suicide prevention initiatives as part of the implementation of the New Zealand Suicide Prevention Strategy, launched last year.

"Although the rate of suicide in New Zealand has decreased by around 20% percent since 1998, it is still far too high and needs continued commitment to keep the number of these tragic deaths down.

"This Labour-Progressive Government has that commitment. We are backing our suicide prevention strategy with substantial funding for new initiatives and building on the success of earlier ones.

"The depression awareness campaign fronted by John Kirwan has been very successful. The funding announced today will build on that success with new initiatives to reach a younger audience.

"Hand in hand with people becoming aware of the signs of depression and seeking help, is the need for good treatment. To this end we are beefing up the training of primary care professionals on depression management, completing the roll-out of emergency department suicide prevention guidelines to all hospitals, and establishing pilot positions in DHBs for regional coordination of the suicide prevention strategy.

"It is also clear that we need to better protect the vulnerable people who have made a suicide attempt. Studies show that almost half of them will make at least one further attempt, and one in 12 will die as a result of suicide within five years. Therefore, we are trialling new approaches of care for those who have attempted suicide and we will roll-out the most effective approach nationally.

"To improve people's understanding of mental health issues, a new community-based education programme is being developed, with further funding going toward extending the successful 'Travellers' support programme in schools, and the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training programme that provides people in the community with the skills to better respond to people who may be suicidal. Programmes like these show there is a will to educate and improve knowledge and skills to deal with suicide at various levels. There is no veil of silence around suicide'" Jim Anderton said.

--

www.beehive.govt.nz/anderton www.progressiveparty.org.nz


BACKGROUND ON THE SUICIDE PREVENTION INITIATIVES

A total of $23.1 million over four years will support a range of initiatives to prevent suicide as part of the implementation of the New Zealand Suicide Prevention Strategy. Funding for the first $14.8 million has been secured in Budget 2007, and Cabinet has agreed that an additional $8.3 million across three years will be confirmed in Budget 2008 for funding from July 2008.

Funding has been secured to support the following initiatives:

$1.9 million over four years to fund the continued roll-out to all DHBs of the Emergency Department Guidelines, which provide a new way of working to improve the assessment and support of people who have made a suicide attempt and who are treated in emergency departments.

$1.7 million over two years will support new pilot positions in DHBs to coordinate and implement the New Zealand Suicide Prevention Strategy at a regional level.

$2.6 million additional investment over four years to support the new public campaign on depression, to better reach young people through the development of a new interactive website, as well as to increase the capacity of the depression information helpline, provide additional education resources, evaluate the effectiveness of the campaign, and to develop new television and radio advertisements.

$1.3 million to support the continued funding and roll-out nationally of ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training), a programme to provide key community personnel with the skills and knowledge to respond to people who may be suicidal.

$2.1 million over four years to develop and roll-out a new community-based education programme to improve people's understanding of mental health issues, to equip them to respond effectively if someone is distressed, and to enable them to be more supportive of people with mental health problems.

$880,000 over four years will fund the further roll-out into other secondary schools of 'Travellers', an innovative support group programme teaching skills to cope with change, loss and transition.

$1.6 million over two years for the establishment of a new suicide prevention research fund for small-scale research projects and feasibility studies to ensure new suicide prevention approaches are based on the best available research and are relevant to a New Zealand context.

$5.8 million over four years to fund and trial new approaches to provide better ongoing support to people who have made a suicide attempt. These will be evaluated to find out what model is most effective and, over time, will be rolled out throughout New Zealand. Of this, $2 million is now approved, with the balance of $3.8 million to be confirmed in Budget 2008.

$5.3 million over four years to establish and evaluate a range of intensive training models based in primary care to provide better management of people with depression. Of this, $800,000 is now approved, with the balance of $4.5 million to be confirmed in Budget 2008 to support the ongoing implementation and evaluation of these initiatives.


ENDS

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