Today, the Ministry of Health has published Every Life Matters - He Tapu te Oranga o ia Tangata: Suicide Prevention Strategy 2019–2029 and Suicide Prevention Action Plan 2019–2024 for Aotearoa New Zealand, reorganising and focusing efforts to reduce suicide in New Zealand.
In his Foreword, the Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield says the Ministry recognises the need to do more to reduce Aotearoa New Zealand’s suicide rate.
"This strategy is part of the broader transformation of the mental health and addiction system to ensure it's accessible and supports people effectively – whether they are suicidal themselves, whānau or family, or friends with concerns for a loved one who is suicidal. Above all, a transformed system will support and work toward reducing suicide," says Dr Bloomfield.
The Ministry has led the development of Every Life Matters, engaging with a diverse targeted group of stakeholders, including a focus on Māori, people with lived experience, and the suicide bereaved. This has been crucial to creating a strategy that reflects the calls for urgent action.
"I want to acknowledge everybody who helped create this strategy and action plan. This ranges from the people noted above to the wider public and sector leaders, as well as people who provided feedback on the draft strategy in 2017 and to the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction. Your voices have been heard."
This strategy and action plan commits to doing better for Māori and supporting Māori to take a leadership role and control of their wellbeing and recovery.
Every Life Matters has two main parts:
- Suicide Prevention Strategy 2019–2029 outlines the framework and strategic direction for how we can work together in a coordinated way to achieve the vision.
- Suicide Prevention Action Plan 2019–2024 identifies specific actions that will be undertaken to help achieve the vision, prevent suicide and support people affected by suicide in Aotearoa New Zealand.