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World Suicide Prevention Day Time To Reflect

World Suicide Prevention Day Time To Reflect

Associate Health Minister, Jim Anderton, said today that the prevention of suicide and suicide attempts has been a priority for New Zealand for some time and it is helpful for international attention to be focussed on the issue.

The Progressive leader was commenting on September 10, 2003, being designated the world’s first Suicide Prevention Day.

The International Association for Suicide Prevention in conjunction with the World Health Organization (WHO) has organised the day to draw attention to the need for coordinated preventive efforts globally.

"It is now five years since the release of the New Zealand Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy and New Zealand now has a well developed programme of activities in a range of sectors across the country”, he said.

Statistics released in May this year show that New Zealand’s rate and number of suicides has declined markedly, with the most up-to-date data (for 2000) showing the lowest number of deaths since 1986 and the lowest rate since 1985.

“While it is a move in the right direction to see a drop in suicide numbers, its important to remember that every suicide death results in a profound and lasting impact on families, friends and, often, whole communities, “ says Mr Anderton.

While New Zealand has had particularly high rates of youth suicide and suicide attempts in the 15-24 year age group, it is important to acknowledge that suicide and suicide attempts are also a problem in adult and older age groups.

In order to ensure everything possible is being done to address suicidal behaviour across all age groups, the Ministry of Health has begun work on broadening the New Zealand Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy to generate a new prevention strategy for all age groups.

Jim Anderton said The World Suicide Prevention Day underlines the importance of everyone knowing they have a role in the prevention of suicide – family members and friends, colleagues, community workers, mental health workers, researchers and politicians.

According to WHO figures it is estimated that in 2000, 815,000 people died by suicide around the world. Suicide is the thirteenth most common cause of death world wide, the fourth most common among those aged 15-44 and suicide attempts are the sixth most common cause of ill-health and disability.

/Ends

Link to Suicide Facts: Provisional 2000 Statistics (all ages) http://www.moh.govt.nz/moh.nsf/49ba80c00757b8804c256673001d47d0/fe056868e15068c6cc256d27001ef42f?OpenDocument

Link to SPINZ (Suicide Prevention Information New Zealand) http:// http://www.spinz.org.nz Link to IASP website: http:// http://www.med.uio.no/iasp/

Budget support to hit drugs and prevent suicide
http://www.progressive.org.nz/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=171

The Canterbury Suicide Project

http:// http://www.chmeds.ac.nz/research/suicide/index.htm

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