January 28, 2014
Suicide strategy flawed
Suicide prevention organisation CASPER wants more done to tackle persistently high levels of youth suicide among Maori.
The latest figures released by the Ministry of Health show an 11 percent decrease in suicides in 2011.
But CASPER chief executive Maria Bradshaw says the figures may not show the full extent of the problem, because a 2006 change to the Coroner’s Act means that more than 90 percent suspected suicides are not subject to a full investigation at an inquest.
Instead the coroner makes a finding based only on the evidence provided by the police.
She says New Zealand suicide rates in the 15 to 24 age group are the second highest in the OECD.
Maori youth suicide rates are 2.4 times higher than the equivalent rate for non-Maori youth and are not showing the downward trend of non-Maori youth suicide rates.
Ms Bradshaw says what is needed is not more mental health services, which can have a negative effect, but addressing the widening income gap, unemployment, social isolation and a range of other environmental factors and social ills.
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