Suicide prevention needs to focus on red flags

Government moves to tackle suicide are sadly not making the inroads we need to reduce New Zealand’s tragically high suicide rate, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.

“We have had prevention plan after prevention plan, tied in to a prevention strategy, since 2006.

“Despite that, figures released by the Chief Coroner today show 564 people died by suicide in the last year, up 35 on the previous year and the highest number since 2008/09.

“That demonstrates a break-down in the system and points to the need to re-think how we strengthen and target support for high-risk populations.

“More open discussion is one thing, as is better access to information. However a more comprehensive focus on the links between suicide, deprivation and family violence/childhood abuse is also called for.

“At the moment it seems we are not joining all the dots. If we act collectively – that is agencies working alongside communities - on the red flags, then we should be able to make more of an impact on those awful statistics.

“It might be a cliché, but fewer people die on our roads than die by suicide. If any one of those deaths can be prevented, then that’s one less devastated family,” Jacinda Ardern says