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Conference Aims to Lower NZ’s deaths by suicide

Conference Aims to Significantly Lower NZ’s deaths by suicide.

Press release - July 17, 2017

The National Zero Suicide Forum being hosted in Auckland on July 27th will bring together international thought leaders and practitioners working in the suicide prevention area to explore how adopting a proven Zero Suicide methodology across the health, behavioural health and justice sectors could deliver a significant reduction in deaths by suicide for those in care.

“The proven Zero Suicide approach aims to improve care and outcomes for individuals at risk of suicide in health care systems. It represents a commitment to patient safety along with the safety and support of clinical staff, who do the demanding work of treating and supporting suicidal patients”, according to conference convener Shaun Lines. “We are looking at methodologies have worked elsewhere that could be adopted almost immediately in the drive the suicide numbers down, and to be frank, this is not rocket-science. It is the low hanging fruit in terms of being able to make real change in these areas that would easily integrate with the comprehensive response that our communities are now demanding.”

Zero Suicide relies on a system-wide approach to improve outcomes and close gaps rather than on the heroic efforts of individual practitioners. This initiative in health and other care systems also requires the engagement of the broader community, especially suicide attempt survivors, family members, policymakers, and researchers. Thus, Zero Suicide is a call to relentlessly pursue a reduction in suicide for those who come to agencies and providers for care, and too often are let down.

“There is a growing realization amongst practitioners that suicidal individuals often fall through multiple cracks in our under resourced and sometimes distracted care systems, and evidence now shows us internationally that it is possible to significantly lower suicide deaths by implementing a systematic approach to quality improvement,” says Mr Lines, “and we have invited a range of practitioners speaking about what they have done and how this has made real differences in their communities.”

With speakers from Northern Ireland, the US, Australia and across various organisations in New Zealand, this conference will move beyond being a talk fest to looking practically how we can support organisations to do better. This conference is hosted by GROW and the Mental Health Foundation and delegates will be coming from organisations working within New Zealand’s suicide prevention and mental health sector who provide support in their communities to people with suicidal thoughts. It also invites those with a lived experience and their families to assist with the service model discussions, as they have much to offer in fresh learning.

Full details about the conference programme along with speaker profiles are available at http://nationalzerosuicideforum2017.grow.co.nz/.

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