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Dunne: pilot to support communities losing major industry

Monday, 27 May 2013

Media Release

Dunne: pilot to support communities losing major industry

Communities are going to be better supported to cope with the loss of a major employer or industry through an initiative being trialled in the new suicide prevention plan launched by Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne today.

‘Unemployment is a known risk factor for suicide and in New Zealand, there is a high co-relation between unemployment and youth suicide, particularly among young Māori males.

“Communities that are particularly dependent on one employer or industry are also particularly vulnerable if that employer or industry fails.

“Small towns can struggle to cope with the sudden fall in income and population, and the financial pressure and sense of loss can be traumatic for individuals and families, with sometimes tragic results,” Mr Dunne said.

He said the initiative was one of 30 specific actions in the New Zealand Suicide Prevention Action Plan 2013 to 2016 that involve eight government agencies

Led by the Ministry of Social Development, the trial would see the ministry partner with a small number of local communities to support them before and after the loss of a major employer or industry.

“Evidence points to the importance of communities themselves leading any revival, but partnerships with government agencies, business and other groups can be vital to a successful transition,” he said.

‘Ultimately, the aim would be for a community to guide the response with government agencies taking its cue from the community and working with it to support its vision and strategy.”

District Health Boards will also be given support for suicide prevention through the development of a toolkit for DHBs which will focus on managing suicide clusters or contagion, Mr Dunne said.

Families, whānau and communities are often best placed to implement suicide prevention activities, he said.

The plan will support strong, cohesive and self-determining communities. It will also enable communities to build capacity and leadership and give them the tools to respond to people in distress and support them to seek help.

“Suicide is everyone’s business – families, whānau and communities must all come together to tackle this problem,” he said.

The full plan can be found at www.health.govt.nz/publication/new-zealand-suicide-prevention-action-plan-2013-2016


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