Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne today said he was disappointed the suicide rate had not fallen and this again highlighted the need to be continually looking for better ways to address the issue.
“In particular, our rates for young people and Maori remain high and we need keep focused on these groups in particular,” Mr Dunne said.
He said a key next step will be updating the Suicide Prevention Action Plan and the evidence base that underpins it during the next year.
“The reasons behind any suicide are complex, and we need to approach the whole issue with as much knowledge, research and evidence as we can,” Mr Dunne said.
He said updating the Suicide Prevention Action Plan was a good chance to “take a step back and look at whether there are more things we could be doing, different things we should be doing and what we can do better”.
He said while it was good to see fewer suicides in Christchurch following the earthquakes of the past year, this was consistent with international experience after natural disasters.
“People pull together and there is a strong sense of community which can support the individual after natural disasters.
“The bigger risk period is well after the event when, among other things, despair can take hold.
“This means that we will need to be particularly vigilant that the community of Christchurch continues to be supported, and that people are helped through what is an incredibly challenging and difficult time,” Mr Dunne said.