WELLSOUTH has launched an action plan to help southern communities tackle suicide prevention during the next three years.
The 2020-2023 Southern District Suicide Prevention Strategy and Action Plan was released last week in an attempt to instil change and reduce harm in southern communities.
WellSouth southern district suicide prevention and post-vention co-ordinator and strategy and action plan lead author Bonnie Scarth said a multi-faceted community approach” was needed to address suicide, suicidal thoughts and self-harm.
“A broad array of groups and individuals have a role to play in helping make positive changes and to reduce harm in our communities.
“It is not only our health services that can make those changes, though they are important. What we also need to think about is the impact we can have by working together.
The plan was developed with input from stakeholders, including iwi, and post-vention groups from across the district, and had drawn on research around suicide and self-harm, as well as “best practice’’ regarding post-vention support.
Some of the potentially high-risk groups, recommended as a focus of suicide prevention support and campaigns, were young Maori men, Pacific people and New Zealand/European men older men, those who lived in smaller rural communities and people involved in the justice system.
Mrs Scarth said it did not mean there should not be support for other groups, such as students, but the high-risk groups needed help “most urgently”.
Making parenting courses available to support families, getting coaches and teachers to talk more openly with young people about suicide, and equipping employers with the tools to look out for their staff was suggested in the action plan.
The plan would also act as a guide for health and social services in the southern district.
“No one group or agency or individual can have responsibility for suicide prevention and post-vention support. It is a responsibility we all share and by working together, we can make a difference.”
Kia Piki te Ora Maori Suicide Prevention co-ordinator Leoma Tawaroa said the new strategy was a significant step in the right direction.
“The importance of a strong sense of place, belonging and positive cultural identity are crucial protective factors of suicide for iwi Maori.
“From the mountains to the sea, we’re all connected. This suicide prevention strategy looks to strengthen our relationships and collaboration opportunities to bring to life the actions of this significant southern-wide suicide prevention plan.