Information release for the draft suicide prevention strategy

A large amount of information was commissioned, researched and generated during the development of the draft suicide prevention strategy. The draft strategy was kept brief to make it more accessible to a wide range of audiences. The cross-government working group considered all the information when developing the draft strategy – it provides a basis for the approach outlined in the draft strategy. Core elements of this suite of information are available for those seeking more detail about the evidence and information that underpin the draft strategy.

Previous Suicide Prevention Strategy and associated action plans

Statistics about suicide

There are a lot of facts and figures available about suicide. This helps build a picture of the kinds of people most at risk of suicide. The draft strategy was informed by a wide and detailed range of statistics, including trends over time, ethnic, age, gender and geographical information. 

More information about suicide can be found in:

In September 2013, the Ministry of Health (the Ministry) contracted the Health Quality & Safety Commission New Zealand to trial a suicide mortality review mechanism. The Commission established the Suicide Mortality Review Committee and developed the Suicide Mortality Review Feasibility Study. The study produced two reports on the feasibility of a suicide mortality review mechanism.

Themes and suggested actions from consultation workshops

Workshops with the community, academics and clinicians were held at the beginning of the process to develop the draft strategy. Participants were asked for their views on what should be included in the next suicide prevention strategy, and their feedback was provided as themes and priority action areas for focus.

Suicide prevention activities across government agencies

Suicide prevention is often seen as only a health and mental health issue. However, it is much broader. This paper outlines activities across government that contribute to suicide prevention. ACC, the Department of Corrections, the Ministries of Defence, Education, Health and Social Development, the New Zealand Police and Te Puni Kōkiri all undertake suicide prevention activities.

Papers calculating the cost of suicide

Several studies include analysis of the costs arising from suicides and intentional self-harm incidents. The studies point to a total economic cost for suicidal behaviour in New Zealand of approximately $2 billion per annum.

The approach taken in the studies to calculate costs is commonly used and generally accepted methodology. However, it is recognised that the approach could lead to overestimating the cost of suicide.

Literature informing the draft strategy

A range of literature has informed the development of the draft strategy. Example of the key pieces of literature used are:

Literature Review – commissioned from external provider

The Ministry commissioned a rapid review of the current literature on the risk and protective factors for suicide and the effectiveness of suicide prevention activities within the New Zealand context. Pivotal to this review was its relevancy to the New Zealand context, specifically in addressing at-risk population groups, including Māori, Pacific, youth, working age men and mental health service users.

Preventing Suicide: A global imperative

In 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) published Preventing suicide: A global imperative. This report aimed to increase awareness of the ‘public health significance of suicide’ and make suicide prevention ‘a higher priority’ globally. The report also noted that suicide prevention needs to be a ‘multi-sectoral priority’.

Suicide Prevention Strategies Revisited: 10-year systematic review

This systematic review, published in 2016, presents updated evidence for the effectiveness of a range of suicide prevention activities since 2005.

New Zealand Suicide Prevention Outcome Framework – commissioned from an external provider

The Suicide Prevention Outcome Framework (SPOF) is a tool to support coordinated, cross-sector activity to prevent suicidal behaviour in New Zealand. It can also be used to help understand what activities are being funded, for whom, and what impact these activities are having.

The first report outlines how the SPOF was designed.

The final report provides a revised version of the developed SPOF and shows how it can be applied to inform planning of joined up suicide prevention activities. 

Cabinet Paper – Approval to consult on A draft suicide prevention strategy

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