Suicide prevention group calls for change from Government

Warning: This article discusses suicide.

Experts are calling for change in how the Government tackles suicide prevention in the wake of yet another rise in the number of people taking their own life.

In the year to June 30, 2019, 685 people took their own lives - 17 more than the previous year according to statistics from the Coroner. 

In the year 2017 - 2018, the suicide rate was 13.67 deaths per 100,000 people. That's since increased to 13.93 in 2018 - 2019.

Life Matters Suicide Prevention Trust Chair Corinda Taylor told Newshub the Government isn't trying hard enough.

"They'll have a suicide prevention plan that is overdue and the authorities need to recognise the urgency of the matter. This needs to be a top priority."

She said there needs to be more work with those on the front line to ensure they're equipped to handle a difficult situation.

"There needs to be good training at the coalface where we have our front end clinicians. When they are engaged it can go a long way to prevent this horrific tragedy."

Also, the Government needs to work with those affected by suicide.

"You can't just rely on research alone, you also need to have those conversations with the people who have suffered bereavement, who understand and live with it every single day of our lives," Taylor said.

Health Minister David Clark said a new suicide prevention plan will be released within the coming weeks, but he can't guarantee a quick fix.

"We make no apology for tackling the long term challenge that we have inherited."

He does admit the continued rise is a concern though.

"The statistics in New Zealand have gone up for the fifth year in a row and that is an absolute tragedy. What sits behind them are personal stories of families, whanau affected by tragedy.

"One death by suicide is one death too many. "

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