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Suicide Prevention Office Debacle - Parents Of Nicky Stevens Say Ministry Will 'have Blood On Its Hands' If It Proceeds

The parents of Nicky Stevens, a victim of suicide in 2015, have slammed Te Whatu Ora/The Ministry of Health for its proposal to disestablish the Suicide Prevention Office as part of its Government-mandated cuts to health services.

“Both the Ministry and the Government will have blood on their hands if they axe the Suicide Prevention Office,” said Nicky Strevens’ mother Jane Stevens.

“We support Mental Health Minister Matt Doocey’s calling out of the Ministry on this matter, and also echo his previous comments on the recent ineffectiveness of the Office."

“The central problem is that the Ministry has captured what was a good recommendation to the previous Government for an independent and influential suicide watchdog, and turned it into a bureaucratic nightmare that delivered little, after an initial Strategy, and became easy prey for health bosses wielding the axe,” she said.

Ms Stevens pointed out that the 2019 Mental Health Enquiry had called for the independent suicide watchdog to have heavy whanau and ‘lived experience’ involvement in order to focus the attention of all government bodies on the urgent task of reducing this country’s awful suicide statistics, and beefing up the services available to support those suffering from mental ill health and its effects, including supporting suicde-bereaved whanau.

“After a promising start, the Ministry made a comeback, took back control of the narrative, and has been able to tuck the suicide and mental health back under the grey blanket of its Wellington bureaucracy.”

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“The failure over the last year to appoint replacement leaders to fill gaps the SuicIde Prevention Office only demonstrates the Ministry’s lack of commitment to genuinely carrying through the Enquiry’s recommendations.”

“More whanau will become victims of suicide and other mental health issues as a result of the failure to properly address the issues."

“We hope Minister Matt Doocey can get his way and restore mental health, including suite prevention, to being treated as the important issue is must be,” said Ms Stevens

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