Suicide Prevention Office gets to work
New Zealand's first ever Suicide Prevention Office has officially opened and will work to tackle the country’s persistently high rate of suicide.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister of Health David Clark visited the Ministry of Health today to mark the office’s opening and launch a community suicide prevention fund for Māori and Pacific people.
“Last year 685 New Zealanders are believed to have taken their lives through suicide. Each of those deaths was a tragedy and we must do more to support people in distress, or struggling with addiction,” Jacinda Ardern says.
"The new Suicide Prevention Office is a crucial part of the Wellbeing Budget’s record investment in mental health and addiction, which includes $40 million on suicide prevention.
“Today, we’re announcing a $12 million Māori and Pacific suicide prevention community fund. Over the next four years this will be used to support Māori and Pacific providers to design and deliver culturally responsive suicide prevention initiatives.
“We know Māori and Pacific are over represented in suicide statistics and we need to find and support new community responses that will help change that.”
David Clark says the Suicide Prevention Office will galvanise work towards making New Zealand a better place for all to thrive.
“I believe together we can and will fix this long-term challenge and make New Zealand the best place in the world to grow up and live. A country where people know there is always someone to reach out to and get help.
"As well as our work in suicide prevention, we’re investing in new frontline mental health and addiction services up and down New Zealand.
"We want every New Zealander to know that when times get tough, if they are in distress or they reach a crisis point, there is someone they can turn to for help.
"That’s why we’re also training thousands more people to be able to respond when they see someone who doesn’t seem themselves and may be in distress."
The Suicide Prevention Office will initially be established as a team within the Ministry of Health’s Mental Health and Addiction Directorate and is led by director, Carla na Nagara.