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Suicide prevention strategies take shape

Media Release

Suicide prevention strategies take shape

The needs of families and friends of people experiencing suicidal thoughts or actions are being recognised through some recently completed research into suicide prevention in the Wairarapa.

The Suicide Prevention Needs Assessment has highlighted a common misconception that suicide is primarily a concern in young people, whereas the statistics show that it is males ages 25-54 who are the main at risk population and that there is a higher proportion of males attempting suicide in the Wairarapa than in other DHBs. Women aged 15-44 are also at risk for attempting suicide, as are those who attempted suicide before and people living with mental illness.

“Suicide is not a random act,” says Prevention Coordinator Barry Taylor. “There are recognized factors which makes an individual at greater risk for suicide. By providing those involved in caring for people at risk with knowledge and skills to undertake suicide risk and imminent danger assessments, we can improve the strategies used during periods of crisis. At the same time, by supporting family and friends bereaved through suicide, we can help them regain their own resilience.”

Barry has recently completed a needs assessment for the Wairarapa, and is now developing a Suicide Prevention Action Plan, which includes an extensive training schedule. “I’ve been impressed with the willingness of agencies to participate in the suicide prevention project, and for services to be responsive to suicidal clients and their families,” says Barry. “We need a district-wide response, and there are great examples of how we can work together out there, like the Healthy Lifestyles plan and the Keeping Well strategy – they provide great opportunities to develop a comprehensive, district wide mental well-being plan.”


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