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Suicide rate reflects our broken mental health system

The record-high annual suicide statistics released today shows why the Government must urgently initiate a nationwide mental health inquiry, the Green Party said today.

The provisional statistics found 606 Kiwis took their own life in 2016-17 year, which is the highest number of suicide deaths since provisional statistics were first recorded by the Coroner’s Office in 2007/08.

“The number of Kiwis who are tragically taking their own lives reflects the failings in our broken mental health system,” Green Party health spokesperson Julie Anne Genter said.

“The Government needs to set a suicide prevention target that works with the health system, communities, and whānau to lower our tragically high suicide rates.

“We owe it to all of those people and their loved ones to look at why our mental health services weren’t able to help and what can be improved. A mental health inquiry is the best way to do that.

“Mental health services are under-funded compared to need, and the slow erosion of the health budget under the National Government has stretched mental health services past breaking point.

“A lack of funding for preventative care, and a lack of funding for crisis management, means that people are not getting the help that they need.

“We need a decent, functioning mental health system that allows people to be seen quickly, ensures people get the help that they need, and is responsive to the mental health problems that people have. A Green Party in government is committed to addressing these issues,” Ms Genter said.