Seeking input into suicide prevention planning
WellSouth, the Primary Health Organisation (PHO) for Otago and Southland, is seeking input to help draft the Southern Suicide Prevention Action Plan 2024 – 2027.
The Southern Suicide Prevention Action Plan, which is developed by WellSouth, will help organisations and government agencies to understand what actions they can take to prevent suicides in the community. It will also highlight the services available and the work that is already being done.
The PHO is carrying out community consultation with individuals and organisations across the Southern region in November, including government agencies, charities, services, associations, trusts, community networks, maraes, institutions, churches, groups and clubs.
Recent figures released by the NZ Office of the Coroner show that for the 2022 – 2023 financial year, 565 lives were lost to suspected suicide in Aotearoa New Zealand, 37 of those being Southerners. This is consistent with the previous financial year to 30 June 2022 (38 in Southern compared to 538 people nationally) and, markedly lower than the year before (55 in Southern). Southern rates per 100,000 are now right on the national average.
Jodie Black, WellSouth Mental Health Clinical Services Manager, says the downward trend for suspected suicides in Southern is good news.
“It’s too early to account for why especially as this was during COVID and lockdowns, but it’s heartening to see.”
She says it’s important to remember that behind the numbers are loved family members and friends.
“Many more individuals, whānau and communities will be bereaved by losing a loved one.”
“We know there are broad protective factors in suicide prevention including good whānau and family relationships, access to secure housing, stable employment, community support and connectedness, as well as having a secure cultural identity, but we’d like to know more.
“That’s why we are holding workshops across Southland and Otago – to connect with community organisations who may be involved in suicide prevention or postvention in their community. That local voice will help us understand the needs and priorities of our Southern communities.”
As well as workshops, which are starting on 1 November, there is an anonymous survey live until the end of November.
The plan is due to be released in early 2024.
About the Southern Suicide Prevention Action Plan 2024 – 2027
The Southern Suicide Prevention Action Plan 2024 – 2027 is a strategy document that will outline health and wellbeing priorities in the Southern region over the next three years. It is put together by WellSouth in collaboration with other key partners.
The plan will help organisations and government agencies to understand what actions they can take to prevent suicides in the community. It will also highlight available services and the work that is already being done.
The WellSouth Suicide Prevention/Postvention Team coordinates suicide prevention initiatives in the Southern region, working together with Te Whatu Ora Southern and other health and community providers across the district.
About the team: Suicide Prevention » WellSouth
Current plan Southern-Suicide-Action-Plan_2020.pdf (wellsouth.nz)
Link to the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SPWellSouth
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