The Wellbeing Budget

Taking mental health seriously

Suicide prevention and response

If there is one issue that has brought discussion about mental health and addiction to the fore in recent years it is New Zealand's tragic suicide rate.

One death from suicide is one death too many. The effects of each suicide on family and friends is devastating.

Tackling our stubbornly high rate of suicide won't be easy. But this Wellbeing Budget is the start of transforming our entire approach to mental health and addiction and building entirely new services designed to support people when issues first emerge.

Those frontline early intervention services, tailored to meet the needs of Māori, Pacific, Rainbow and rural communities, are the key to improving overall wellbeing.

At the same time, the Ministry of Health is working on a new suicide prevention strategy in response to the recommendation of He Ara Oranga. The strategy is being developed alongside people with lived experience, Māori and Pacific communities and the wider mental health sector.

To support that work the Government is investing $40 million over four years into suicide prevention services, to give intensive support to people at risk. This includes better recognition and support for people who have self-harmed or experienced suicidal distress.

The Associate Health Minister Jenny Salesa says the Government knows there is particular need in Māori and Pacific communities.

"It is also important that we do more to support those who are bereaved by suicide, so provision has been made for free counselling for up to 2,500 people (four sessions per person) who have lost a loved one to suicide," Jenny Salesa says.

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