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NZ On Right Track With Suicide Prevention

MEDIA RELEASE

Rt Hon Wyatt Creech
Minister of Health
7 September 1999

NZ ON RIGHT TRACK WITH SUICIDE PREVENTION

"New Zealand is on the right track with its initiatives to prevent people taking their own lives," Minister of Health Wyatt Creech said today.

"I have met the President of the International Society of Suicide Prevention this evening. He is supportive of the initiatives we are taking to try to cut the suicide rate - especially the horrific number of young people who take their own lives.

"New programmes and initiatives are coming on stream all the time, from both the Government and the community. If we want to make real progress in this area, we have to work together.

"Of particular note is the early intervention Family Start programme, the improvements being made in mental health services and the interdepartmental approach to getting solutions.

"One of the key ways of turning the statistics around is to make sure as many people as possible have a good understanding of suicide and suicide prevention.

"This means recognising the signs that can lead to suicide and how to get help. Largely this is about identifying and treating depression.

"We need to get more and more information out there. The latest initiative is new Ministry of Health on-line information on the New Zealand Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy. We will shortly be releasing guidelines for General Practitioners.

"The website adds to the information and best practice guidance on suicide prevention such as the pamphlet for Maori parents and caregivers released by the Minister of Maori Affairs last week, guidelines for schools and pamphlets for parents and young people."

The first year of the strategy focused on initiatives that made the most impact. It included providing information to help individuals, families, communities and professionals to identify youth at risk to ensure appropriate responses.

Year Two includes an expanded and accelerated focus to make sure all who have contact with vulnerable young people have the skills and knowledge to identify and respond to young people at risk of suicide. This focus is principally being implemented through best practice guidelines and training and further provision of information and resources.

ENDS

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