In 2001, the Ministry commissioned a series of studies exploring a range of social epidemiological explanations for the trends in New Zealand's suicide rates to 1999.
In this report, the author summarises and discusses the findings of the studies. The report indicates that social factors are relevant to suicide and that there is evidence that socio-economic factors do have an impact. However, it is difficult to establish causal relationships between social factors and suicide.
The review also suggests that suicide prevention programmes that show promise include:
- population-based programmes that address depression and alcohol use
- promoting mental health and problem-solving skills, in the community at large and in schools
- educational programmes for professionals such as GPs to enhance their ability to identify, treat and manage depressed and suicidal individuals
- programmes that integrate and enhance community and primary care
- psychotherapeutic and pharmacotherapeutic treatments for mood disorders and other mental illnesses linked with suicidality