A suicide prevention expert has described the Ministry of Health’s suicide prevention strategy as “disappointing and uninspiring,” and believes it should be scrapped.

Consultation on the Ministry’s suicide prevention strategy closed in June earlier this year. Comedian and mental health campaigner Mike King withdrew from the process, calling the draft plan “broad and vanilla.”

Barry Taylor, a renowned suicide prevention advocate now based in Sydney, relates that the draft plan fails to target men over 25, who have the highest rates of suicide in the country.

He says it only identifies ethnic and age groups and doesn’t focus on meeting people’s needs. (Photo \ NZ Herald

He says it only identifies ethnic and age groups and doesn’t focus on meeting people’s needs.

“I think it lacked imagination,” he said. “It was like a cut and paste of old strategy and it didn’t really reflect the science of suicide.”

“The danger is that if you do not identify specific target populations, you miss out on coming up with effective strategies.”

New Zealand has the second worst suicide rate among those aged 25 and under in the developed world. Our teen suicide rate – officially those aged 15-19 – is the worst.

But men over the age of 25 commit suicide at a far greater rate than any other, especially those between 25-29.

Where to get help:

If you are worried about your or someone else’s mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.

Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor.

Or if you need to talk to someone else:

Lifeline – 0800 543 354
Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
Youthline – 0800 376 633 or free text 234
Kidsline – 0800 54 37 54 (for under 18s)
What’s Up – 0800 942 8787 (for 5–18 year olds 1pm–10pm weekdays and 3pm–10pm weekends)
Depression Helpline – 0800 111 757 or free text 4202
Samaritans – 0800 726 666
OUTLine NZ – 0800 688 5463
Healthline – 0800 611 116


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