Suicide prevention not working – Labour

  • 07/10/2015
Jacinda Ardern (File)
Jacinda Ardern (File)

Suicide prevention programmes clearly aren't working and there needs to be a new focus on high-risk populations, Labour says.

Figures released yesterday show the number of people taking their own life rising to a record, even as more effort is put into preventing suicide.

The male suicide rate has risen while the female suicide rate has fallen.

In the year to the end of June, 564 people committed suicide, chief coroner Judge Deborah Marshall said.

This is the highest number since the provisional statistics were first recorded for the 2007/08 year, although the suicide rate - the number of suicides per 100,000 population - is below the 2010/11 and 2011/12 years.

This year's total is 35 higher than the previous year, which was a drop of 12 and the lowest on record.

It's six more than 2010/11, which was the previous highest total.

Labour's Jacinda Ardern says the statistics show the Government's programmes aren't making inroads.

"We have had prevention plan after prevention plan, tied in to a prevention strategy, since 2006," she said.

"At the moment it seems we are not joining all the dots... a more comprehensive focus on the links between suicide, deprivation and family violence/childhood abuse is called for."

Ms Ardern says fewer people die on the roads than by suicide.

"If any one of those deaths can be prevented, then that's one less devastated family."

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline's 24-hour telephone counselling service on 0800 543 354. More information about suicide prevention can be found at www.mentalhealth.org.nz/suicideprevention.

NZN