Waka Hourua

Suicide Prevention Strategy

The New Zealand Suicide Prevention Strategy 2006-2016  was launched in June 2006 and provides a clear vision for the prevention of suicide, identifying actions to reduce the rate of suicide and attempted suicide in New Zealand.

The goals of the New Zealand Suicide Prevention Strategy are to:

  1. Promote mental health and wellbeing, and prevent mental health problems.
  2. Improve the care of people who are experiencing mental disorders associated with suicidal behaviours.
  3. Improve the care of people who make non-fatal suicide attempts.
  4. Reduce access to the means of suicide.
  5. Promote the safe reporting and portrayal of suicidal behaviour by the media.
  6. Support families/whānau, friends and others affected by a suicide or suicide attempt.
  7. Expand the evidence about rates, causes and effective interventions.

The strategy came eight years after the release of New Zealand Youth Prevention Strategy that delivered research and evaluation that underpinned New Zealand’s approach to suicide prevention.

It has guided health providers, community and iwi groups, researchers, schools, prisons, the media and both central and local government who all have a role in suicide prevention.

The New Zealand Suicide Prevention Action Plan 2013–2016 has a clear focus on suicide prevention for Māori and Pasifika people. The goals are to:

  • support families, whānau, hapū, iwi and communities to prevent suicide, and reduce the impact of suicide
  • improve the range, coverage and targeting of suicide prevention services, and
  • lift the quality of information and evidence for effective suicide prevention.

The plan includes actions to build the capacity of Māori whānau, hapū and iwi, Pasifika families and communities to prevent suicide. It highlights the need for:

  • stronger Māori and Pasifika leadership
  • culturally relevant education and training
  • initiatives that work for Māori and Pasifika people and communities
  • empowering people and building their resilience.

Waka Hourua aligns with the New Zealand Suicide Prevention Action Plan’s action 1.1, to:

  • build the capacity and capability of Māori whānau, hapū, iwi, Pasifika families and communities, to prevent suicide and to respond safely and effectively when and if suicide occurs
  • ensure that culturally relevant education and training are available to Māori whānau, hapū, iwi, Pacific families and communities that focus on building resilience and leadership
  • build the evidence base of what works for Māori whānau, hapū, iwi, Pasifika families and communities to prevent suicide, through research carried out by, with and for these groups, and
  • build the leadership for suicide prevention.

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