Government opens Suicide Prevention Office

Prime Minisiter Jacinda Ardern. Photo: Files
Prime Minisiter Jacinda Ardern. Photo: Files

The Government has officially opened the country's first-ever Suicide Prevention Office and has also announced an extra $12 million in funding for Māori and Pacific suicide prevention.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the office was a critical part of the Wellbeing Budget and an important priority for her Government.

"Last year 685 New Zealanders are believed to have taken their lives through suicide. Each of those deaths was a tragedy and we must do more to support people in distress, or struggling with addiction."

In September, the Government announced it would create a Suicide Prevention Office and unveiled a strategy to combat New Zealand's high rate of suicide.

It allocated $40 million to the office, and the new strategy.

The Government announced today that $12 million of that would be spent on Māori and Pacific suicide prevention community fund.

She added that over the next four years, the funding would be used to support Māori and Pacific providers to design and deliver culturally responsive suicide prevention initiatives.

"We know Māori and Pacific are over-represented in suicide statistics and we need to find and support new community responses that will help change that."

Health Minister David Clark said the Suicide Prevention Office would galvanise work towards making New Zealand a better place for all to thrive.

"I believe together we can – and will - fix this long-term challenge and make New Zealand the best place in the world to grow up and live. A country where people know there is always someone to reach out to and get help."

He said the Government wants every New Zealander to know that when times get tough, if they are in distress or they reach a crisis point, there is someone they can turn to for help.

"That's why we're also training thousands more people to be able to respond when they see someone who doesn't seem themselves and may be in distress."

The Suicide Prevention Office will initially be established as a team within the Ministry of Health's Mental Health and Addiction Directorate and is led by director Carla na Nagara.

Need help?

1737, free 24/7 phone and text

Healthline: 0800 611-116

Lifeline Aotearoa: 0800 543-354

Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828-865 (0508 TAUTOKO)

Samaritans: 0800 726-666

General mental health inquiries: 0800 443-366

The Depression Helpline: 0800 111-757

Youthline: 0800 376-633, txt 234 or

What’s Up (for 5 to 18-year-olds; 1pm-11pm): 0800 942-8787

Kidsline (aimed at children up to age 14; 4pm-6pm weekdays): 0800 54-37-54 (0800 kidsline)


Ever thought that creating race-based programs leads to an "us and them" mentality, which might make suicide numbers worse?

Clearly not, if you're the government.





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