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Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne today marked World Suicide Prevention Day, saying that it was an occasion to recommit to the battle against suicide.
“Today is a reminder of the challenge that we must continue to face up to if we are to keep bringing down the numbers,” Mr Dunne said.
“Every suicide is a tragedy and we need to work tirelessly from government to communities to individuals and families, to intervene and care and make a difference in people’s lives when they are vulnerable or hurting,” he said.
“We have good work going on already, and we need to keep the focus on it.
“The Ministry of Health funds the Kia Piki te Ora National Suicide Prevention Programme, to promote the health and wellbeing of Maori and contribute to the reduction of suicides. As a large proportion of suicides by Maori are by young people, the service includes a focus on youth, within a family and community context.
“Whanau Ora providers will soon begin working with 40 Maori and Pacific 12–19 year olds and their whanau/aiga over two years, to support families to protect and improve the mental health of their young people,” Mr Dunne said.
In April this year, a series of initiatives were announced as part of the Prime Minister’s Youth Mental Health Project.
“This includes mental wellbeing initiatives in schools, online, in families and communities and in the health system,” he said.
“New funding of $8 million was allocated in Budget 2012 to strengthen communities prevent suicide,” Mr Dunne said.
Other initiatives to enhance communities and strengthen families include the education sector's Positive Behaviour for Learning, Better Public Service Results for New Zealanders, the upcoming White Paper on Vulnerable Children and the recently announced Government initiatives to fight cyber-bullying.
“Twice as many people die by suicide each year as die on the roads, and society needs to be placing the same emphasis on reducing the suicide as we have on reducing the road toll,” Mr Dunne said.