Rise in suicide figures reaffirms need for system-wide change

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The Government must act quickly and decisively to address New Zealand’s growing suicide crisis, the PSA says.

The Chief Coroner, Judge Deborah Marshall, has released the annual provisional suicide statistics, showing 668 people died by suicide in the year ending 30 June 2018.

This is the highest rate per 100,000 population in the past decade.

"These disturbing figures are more evidence of the vital need for the nation-wide Mental Health Inquiry," PSA National Secretary Erin Polaczuk says.

"The Inquiry panel will make recommendations to the Government later this year.

"The Inquiry must deliver a way forward to address this ongoing crisis - and the Government must listen and act quickly."

Ms Polaczuk says today’s figures prove there is much to do, to prevent more tragic loss of life.

"The stories that have surfaced throughout the Inquiry prove this discussion has been deep, painful and long overdue.

"PSA members contributed to the Inquiry - as people who work in mental health and addictions services, but also as ordinary Kiwis who have experienced these issues or supported whanau.

"As the union for mental health, we know those working within the system are doing their best amid challenging circumstances.

"We need well-resourced mental health and services, particularly targeting at-risk groups like Maori men.

"But we also need social services in place that will enable people to seek help at an early stage - and that will address the socio-economic factors that contribute to suicidal behaviour."