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Number of suicides reflects a broken mental health system

18 October 2016

Number of suicides reflects a broken mental health system


The record-high provisional annual suicide statistics released today by the Chief Coroner shows why the Government should urgently initiate a nationwide mental health inquiry, the Green Party said today.

579 people died by suicide in the 2015/16 year, which is the highest number of suicide deaths since provisional statistics were first recorded by the Coroner’s Office in 2007/08.

“The number of Kiwis who are tragically taking their own lives reflects the failings in our mental health system,” Green Party health spokesperson Julie Anne Genter said.

“We owe it to all of those people and their loved ones to look at why the system isn’t reaching them and a mental health inquiry is the best way to do that.

“Mental health services are undoubtedly under-resourced, and the Government’s slow erosion of the overall health budget has stretched mental health services past breaking point.

“New Zealand is spending almost ten times as much on new programmes preventing road toll deaths than suicide prevention, yet more people are committing suicide than dying on the roads.

“A lack of funding for preventative care, and a lack of funding for crisis management, means that people are not getting the help that they need.

“The figures for Māori women committing suicide have dramatically increased, which shows that there need to be more initiatives specifically targeted at Māori communities.

“We need a decent, functioning mental health system that allows our young people to be seen quickly, ensures people get the help that they need, and is responsive to the mental health problems that people have.

“There is so much more that the Government can be doing – addressing the mental health needs of New Zealanders should be a priority issue for any Government,” Ms Genter said.


ends

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