Trying to reduce suicide rates has been the focus of several organisations across the Waikato for some time.
Waikato District Health Board (DHB) is working with a number of agencies to develop a suicide prevention plan and a suicide postvention plan.
Senior planning manager Paul Keesing said that while the statistics show the Waikato has not had significantly high rates of suicide in comparison to other areas in the country, the project is a priority.
“We intend to ensure focus is directed to this area, as any suicide or suicide attempt is one too many,” he said.
The project is currently focusing on developing action plans that will ensure a coordinated effort for suicide prevention activities and suicide postvention support.
“Our aim is to ensure excellent communication and coordination between each agency… so we can all respond appropriately to the diverse needs of our people and communities in the Waikato,” said Keesing.
Last week an online toolkit was released by the Ministry of Health to assist district health boards with their planning. The web-resource, which brings together research, programmes and services, was co-developed by the Ministry, DHBs, health professionals and community organisations to help reduce suicide rates across New Zealand.
Health minister Dr Jonathan Coleman said suicide was a serious concern for the country.
“Around 500 New Zealanders take their own lives every year,” said Dr Coleman.
Between 2007-2011 there were 207 suicides across the Waikato. Dr Coleman said there was some evidence of suicide rates declining in New Zealand but the rate was still too high, particularly among Maori and young people.
The toolkit is available on the Ministry of Health website.
If you or someone you know is struggling there are people who can help
Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
Youth services: (06) 3555 906
Youthline: 0800 376 633
Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (4pm to 6pm weekdays)
Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.