Suicide prevention plan released for Tairāwhiti

16 September 2015

A plan to help prevent suicide in the Tairāwhiti region has been released.

Suicide is a significant issue for Tairāwhiti particularly among young Māori men and those living in the most deprived areas. Between 2007 and 2011 Tairāwhiti had the highest rate of suicide in New Zealand. Forty people took their own life in those four years. Since then the numbers have reduced, however, it looks like there was another spike in the last financial year.

The plan was developed by Hauora Tairāwhiti after a series of workshops were held with more than 80 representatives from a cross section of government and social service organisations in Tairāwhiti.

The plan aims to reduce the rate of suicide and suicidal behavior by supporting families, hapu and iwi and to improve services to those at high risk. There is also a focus on providing support after a suicide. This will help to reduce the impact on families and friends.

Working with the other agencies in Tairāwhiti it was obvious that we really need a more joined up approach and must be responsive to Māori as they are the most at risk says Portfolio Manager Ellen Fisher.

The Tairāwhiti Suicide Prevention and Postvention Plan has been produced alongside the development of the Te Rautaki Maori Whakamomori o Kaiti led by Jo-Vanna Ropiha of Te Rau Matatini.

“One area that is particularly relevant in Tairāwhiti is supporting whanau after a suicide. When one member of a whanau is suspected of committing suicide, there is an increased risk of suicide among that person’s friends and family. Making sure we have the support networks in place to provide appropriate support at these times is vital if we want to reduce both the number and impact of the tragedy of suicide in our region,” Mrs Fisher added.

Suicide is a serious issue for our communities. Around 500 New Zealanders take their own lives every year, says Health Minister Jonathan Coleman.

“All DHBs now have plans in place to help them, in partnership with their local communities, prevent and respond to suicide.

“While there is some evidence that suicide rates in New Zealand have declined over time, the rates remain too high, particularly for young people and Māori. Reducing suicide rates requires coordinated action at a national and local level. DHBs are well placed to bring community groups together to coordinate and lead an approach that best meets local needs,” says Dr Coleman.

Where to get help:

• Your Doctor

• Child Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) 06 869 0541 during office hrs.

• Tairāwhiti Psychiatric Assessment Triage Team 24/7. Phone 06 867 2435 or 0800 243 500.

• Police 111

• For Lifeline phone- 0800 543 354

• Depression Helpline (8 am to 12 midnight) phone 0800 111 757

• Healthline phone 0800 611 116

• Samaritans phone 0800 211 211 / (04) 473 9739

• Suicide Crisis Helpline (aimed at those in distress, or those who are concerned about the wellbeing of someone else) –phone 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)

• Youthline phone 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email