It’s World Suicide Prevention Day, and the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand (MHF) is glad to welcome New Zealand’s new suicide prevention strategy – Every life matters.
“We congratulate the Government on a strong, innovative strategy that envisions a future where the devastating impact of suicide is no longer felt in Aotearoa,” MHF chief executive Shaun Robinson says.
“Most New Zealanders are aware of the devastation suicide is causing in our communities,” Mr Robinson says. “But it is preventable, and this new strategy gives us the roadmap and tools we need to prevent it. Not only this, it will help to ensure New Zealanders have lives worth living – it does not seek simply to keep people alive but to build an Aotearoa where everyone can enjoy good mental health and wellbeing.”
The MHF is also glad to see the strategy emphasises the importance of developing solutions and responses to suicide that are tailored to our diverse and unique communities.
The Foundation welcomes the strategy’s focus on:
While the Foundation shares the disappointment of many in the Māori and mental health communities that there is no specific Māori suicide prevention strategy, it acknowledges the strategy has strengthened its commitment to Māori and has a strong focus on reducing inequities and improving mental health outcomes for Māori. The Foundation is glad to see the strategy specifically acknowledges the need to promote Māori ownership of Māori wellbeing and suicide prevention and is committed to building on the strengths and leadership of Māori whānau, hapū, iwi and communities.
Māori communities bear a disproportionate burden of suicide. Evidence and history demonstrate this will not change without empowering and resourcing Māori whānau, iwi and communities to work to develop their own solutions.
“We strongly encouraged the Government to recognise Tūramarama ki te ora as a separate Māori suicide prevention strategy,” MHF alliance builder Michael Naera says.
“We’re disappointed they have chosen not to do so but are glad to see the strategy Every Life Matters supports the vision and solutions outlined in Tūramarama ki te Ora.”
Finally, the Foundation is extremely supportive of the establishment of the new Suicide Prevention Office.
“We’ve had a vacuum of leadership in suicide prevention for years,” MHF chief executive Shaun Robinson says. “That’s caused tremendous pain, division within the sector, fractured services and poorer mental health outcomes for some of New Zealand’s most vulnerable people.”
The MHF hopes the new office will not only work to deliver the strategy but to coordinate suicide prevention efforts around the country, ensuring strong, coordinated leadership at all levels and across all sectors: across Government, within health, education and social sectors, and in communities.
“We understand why it’s taken so long for this new strategy to be released but we join most of New Zealand in feeling huge relief that it’s out there now,” Mr Robinson says. “We can all start working on it today.”
The Mental Health Foundation can provide spokespeople in English and te reo Māori.
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