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Suicide rate jumps – Maori Council calls it a national crisis, a revolving tragedy / the current Gov

Suicide rate jumps – Maori Council calls it a national crisis, a revolving tragedy / the current Government has failed

  • Suicide numbers jump to 685 kiwis

  • Maori the highest rate per head of population in the western world

  • 35 were between the ages of 10 and 19

  • Video data:

The New Zealand Maori Council has been provided with the soon to be released coronial data on suicide in New Zealand. The fact is the suicide rate has risen again and is out of control. The Executive Director of the New Zealand Maori Council (and former Chair of Suicide Prevention Australia), Matthew Tukaki, has slammed the Government:

“I am taking the remarkable step of releasing the data that has been provided to me. I am doing so because quite frankly what is happening is a national crisis. The suicide rate has increased again in the last year to 685 New Zealanders from 668. The data reads like a tragedy. The number of Maori deaths by suicide has jumped from 142 to 169. The actual rate around the Maori data has jumped from 23.72 to 28.23. It is now the highest per head of population rates in the western world. 84 of children, across all population groups, between the ages of 10 and 19 took their lives. The number of males has jumped from 475 to 498. Over the last decade the number of kiwis who have taken their lives now numbers a staggering 6,889. And that’s not the worst of it. According to the accepted measurement of attempts for each death twenty others may have attempted. In other words, 133, 780 New Zealanders over the last decade. This is not just a crisis, its not just a tragedy, it is a complete failure from successive Governments – and after all the hype and promise; this Government has failed.” Tukaki said

“New Zealand has been without a suicide prevention plan since 2016. Although we have been promised something – nothing has emerged. The draft Maori Health Action Plan for 2020-2025 doesn’t mention suicide prevention and is scant on any detail at all. We are now told it is just a discussion document. We know nothing of the implementation of the Governments plans on the specifics of implementation of the Mental Health and Addictions Inquiry – lets face it there is no plan that makes sense for Maori, designed by Maori or for Maori. In fact, it could be argued there is no plan for New Zealanders.” Tukaki said

“Its obvious that the Government and the Ministry of Health have no plan. Well the Maori Council does and its time for the Government to put the money where their mouths have been so we can get on with the job.” Tukaki said

“Let me be very clear here – this is not just about mental health – this is also very much about the daily struggle of life and yet we do nothing to address the challenges that Maori and all kiwis face every day in communities across the nation.” Says Tukaki

Tukaki has again slammed the failure of the Minister to engage properly in the issues calling it a “rolling train wreck of health policy.”

Hapori Tahi – One Community: investing in a single national strategy for Maori

A ten-year roadmap towards a reduction in the rates of suicide underpinned by the above eight points / this would include program development, reform and change, design and delivery, health promotion and so on. It would be the roadmap to change – this would include targeted policies for:

  • Maori men / middle years

  • Rangatahi Maori

  • Youth

  • Women in their latter years

  • Middle aged white males between 35 – 55

  • Rural and regional communities

  • Workplace

  • Employment / Unemployed

  • A National Mental Health Commission and legislative reform

The establishment of the Mental Health Commission to oversee the co-ordination of the Governments response to the recommendations of the mental health and addictions inquiry. In addition, the role of the Commissioner will be preparing drafting for the changes need to the Mental Health Act including the separation of the role and duties of the Director of Mental Health to create a higher degree of independence, governance and oversight. There would be two Commissioners, one Maori (to continue the community engagement and development piece).

A Single National Commissioning Agency

  • A single national commissioning agency to coordinate funding and evaluation of services being delivered in both suicide prevention and mental health – this could be attached to the Mental Health Commission

A National Hub for Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Program Evaluation

  • Establish a national hub for suicide prevention and mental health program evaluation. This would create a greater degree of consistency when it comes to how programs are being evaluated and assessed; the model would follow the Australian “Hub” model and including the ability for programs to be mentored if they didn’t quite make the first round. This would provide Government agencies and departments, health authorities and so on to introduce the programs with more confidence.

A National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Research Fund

  • Establish a National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health research fund – investing in research will enable us to interpret the data in a much more coordinated way, identify innovations occurring in programs and service delivery as well as further design and deliver programs for purpose for either demographic or geographic groupings

A National Co-Design Team

  • Establish a national co-design team within the Ministry of Health to work with Maori and highly impacted groups when it comes to service delivery models

The Introduction of a Zero Suicide Approach in the Hospital System

  • Introduce trials sites in Auckland, Christchurch, Northland, the Bay of Plenty and Gisborne for “zero suicide” in hospitals and health systems – this could use the same evidence-based framework underway in the States of Queensland and Western Australia as well as several sites in the United States.

The Development of Additional Health Promotion Campaigns in Te Reo and English

  • Shift specific focus for national health promotion campaigns related to both suicide prevention and mental health amongst target groups such as youth, Maori (rangatahi and middle years), women in their latter years and middle-aged white males.

Further building and investing in teacher training skills and school resources

  • Build and develop teacher and school specific resources for suicide prevention and mental health in line with the eSafety framework, bullying and cyber bullying etc.

A National Workforce Plan

  • Develop a national workforce plan for both allied and non-allied staff; the building of a mental health workforce to meet demand and specific workforce development and capacity building for high impact groups such as Maori.

Investing in Addiction Rehabilitation

  • Investing in the building of five new rehabilitation centers (three north and two south-island) to be directly funded by Government or through an increase in the alcohol and cigarette levies / taxes targeting people with high rates of addiction to move them back into well being

Investing in Youth Space Centres

  • Investing in the establishment of “youth space” centers across the country similar to the “head space” programs targeting young people with mental health challenges / outreach and well-being

Investing in the Mens Shed Networks

  • Investing in a new national program to further build the mens shed networks targeting males between the ages of 45 and 75

Investing in Work Place Care Programs

  • Investing in the development of a workplace strategy providing roving counselling services and pastoral care services directly in the work place. A program that would be required for all Government Departments and opt in with financial support for business and industry

Bringing Down the Silos

  • Establish an interagency taskforce headed by the Mental Health Commissioner to better co-ordinate programs, services and funding across the public sector

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