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Community Kit Assists Youth Suicide Prevention

Community Kit Assists Youth Suicide Prevention - Laila Harre

Youth Affairs Minister Laila Harré today launched an information kit designed to help local communities develop tailored youth suicide prevention strategies.

Produced by Suicide Prevention Information New Zealand (SPINZ) for the Ministry of Youth Affairs, the community information kit was developed in consultation with individuals, groups and organisations involved in youth suicide prevention.

Laila Harré said the resource gives local communities clear guidelines on how to draw together different groups working on youth suicide prevention through a local community action plan.

"Youth suicide is an issue that threatens all New Zealand communities, yet the possible solutions will vary from place to place. Local communities need to collectively decide the best way for them to approach youth suicide prevention, and this resource will walk them through that process.

"It promotes an approach to youth suicide prevention that focuses on the healthy development of young people, but it also alerts us to some of the risk factors and signs that may indicate a young person in crisis."

Laila Harré said the community information kit focuses on the whole person rather than the problem, and recognises that culturally appropriate strategies for Maori suicide prevention must be developed.

"Many, many young people have the support they need to find healthy ways of working through their problems.

"But too many see no option other than their death. It's up to us, the government and the community, to make sure these young people realise that they do have options, and that these options are accessible and adequately resourced."

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The Health Funding Authority has contributed $50,000 for the kit to be piloted in six Northland communities - Dargaville, Kaitaia, Kaikohe, Whangarei, Opononi and Mangonui.

The pilot programme involves a series of community workshops over 10 months, led by trained members of the SPINZ project team.

Participants will be given step-by-step guidance on how to implement a community action plan and promote youth wellbeing, with each phase evaluated at three-month intervals. The SPINZ team will offer ongoing support to the community representatives.

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