Community Policy > Addressing Suicide
The ripple effects from suicide are huge. Sadly, far too many New Zealanders have been affected by the loss of a loved one to suicide. As our suicide rate continues to grow, we recognize the reality that not enough is being done by Government agencies such as Mental Health (both now and in the past) to deal with the escalating tragedies.
If the Nation of New Zealand is serious about reducing suicide statistics then we need to give the message that all New Zealanders are wanted and needed in our society. The Assisted Suicide, or End of Life Choice Bill gives the wrong message as it says that suicide is an option if you are tired of living.
The loss of resilience that we once had as a people, generations of broken families, substance abuse/addictions, mental health disorders and depression, are just some of the factors that are contributing to our escalating suicide rate.
Although culture will take time to shift and reshape, there are interventions that need to be implemented in the short term to address the urgent specific needs of New Zealand’s acute mental health crisis and suicide rates.
New Conservative will ensure:
Triage - The Mental Health Crisis Team will be required to ensure that an ‘in person’ assessment is carried out within 24 hours, following a phone call assessment. New Conservative will work to ensure that we have the funding and resources needed and available for ‘in person’ assessments to be carried out nationally.
Primary care - Review and update education and training for all primary care providers in Mental Health.
Emergency Departments – Clear pathways must be established between emergency department and crisis team staff with after-care programmes for suicidal patients who present to the ED services. Research shows the highest risk of suicide for individuals contacting Emergency Dept services or following discharge from a mental health ward is within 30 days. Good quality follow up is essential in suicide prevention.
Training - Gatekeeper training for allied health, public-facing government agencies, educational institutions, workplaces and communities - Gatekeepers are any people who come into contact with at-risk individuals and can refer those at risk to appropriate assessment and care.
Hotlines - Funding will be increased to suicide crisis helplines engaging in mental health support.
Specialist Mental Health Services – Education of mental health providers, adequate resourcing of specialist mental health services, and psychosocial and pharmacotherapy treatments. Most people who make serious suicide attempts or die by suicide have mental illness, and have had recent contact with mental health providers. Regular auditing of these mental health services will ensure that they are not only well resourced, but that they are also using the resources well. More incentives for relationships between private and public mental health providers to maximise use and access to expertise both in secondary and primary sectors. The possibility of care packages funding that follow the client to empower them to access and contract the best service team or providers whether public or private.
Education - Recent ideological changes to our education system has led to a significant reduction in resilience within the young people of our nation. New Conservative will invest in school programmes that equip young people with necessary skills to deal with psychological distress, and that teach resilience.
Accountability - New Conservative is comprised of many people who have worked on the frontline in social service areas. These frontline workers have identified that throughout New Zealand there is an ever growing dissatisfaction and little public faith in the current Mental Health system.
There must be accountability, for Mental Health staff and all other primary care providers, both individually and collectively as a provider/DHB etc. NC will review and ensure that the Health and Disabilities Commission is functioning as intended.
Outpatient care - Ensure proactive and regular outpatient follow up care, and an intensive wrap-around program is provided for those who are either post suicide attempt/identified at risk of suicide.
Increase funding for more mental health and respite facilities, to ensure sufficient beds/accommodation for those with identified suicidal ideation
Ensure that all post suicide attempt patients discharged from a medical facility are dealt with by professionals in a sincere and purposeful manner, as opposed to a formal routine check-up.
Ministry for Men - In New Zealand, the rate of suicide is highest amongst males. New Conservative will establish a ministry for Men will allow for a focus on the gender most at risk for suicidality and Male-specific factors that go towards such ideation.
Causation- New Conservative are committed to addressing the causes of suicide however there is a lack of adequate research to identify main drivers. New Conservative will invest in data and statistical collection to identify these issues and fund accordingly.