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No suicide reduction target concerning

Media Release
29/05/2019


No suicide reduction target concerning in mental health response

Botany MP Jami-Lee Ross says he's encouraged the Government has decided to accept or further consider 38 of the 40 recommendations stemming from its Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction.

But he's concerned it has chosen not to adopt a suicide reduction target as part of that response.

"It's a big call for the Government to reject one of the most important recommendations made by the inquiry report - to set a target of a 20 per cent reduction in suicide rates by 2030," Mr Ross says.

"A number of recommendations were made in the report that have the goal of reducing suicide, such as for the Government to complete the national suicide prevention strategy and implementation plan, and ensure the strategy is supported by 'significantly increased resources for suicide prevention and post-vention'.

"The experts who led the inquiry also argued a suicide-prevention office should be established to provide stronger and sustained leadership on action to prevent suicide.

"This shows just how important it is to set a suicide reduction target as part of any plan to improve mental health in New Zealand. How can we know how we are tracking on improving mental health without setting a specific goal to reduce suicides?"

Mr Ross says expanding primary mental health services is also vital and it's good to see the Government heading in that direction.

"The last time there was a significant announcement on new spending for mental health it was $100 million of election year sweeteners that were unlikely to be implemented.

"Significant investment is needed urgently to increase access to publicly-funded mental health and addiction services for people with mild to moderate needs.

"People who are struggling need access to effective and efficient help. We must make it easier to access services, support and expand service providers in the sector, and constantly remind people that it isn't weak to ask for help.

"Every suicide is an absolute tragedy and it should be a key priority for the Government and Parliament to ensure we are doing all we can to improve our mental health sector and save people's lives.

"Today’s announcement of the Government’s plans is a good start. Tomorrow we will find out how it lines up with the rest of Budget 2019 and the important funding that is required."

ENDS

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