Nats’ shameful surrender on suicide

Written By: - Date published: 11:31 am, July 18th, 2017 - 16 comments
Categories: health, national, quality of life, useless - Tags: , , , ,

The Nats know all about the importance of monitoring and goals when it comes to effecting change. For example, when it comes to beneficiary bashing:

Mr English said the valuation [of benefit costs] was an important “performance tool” and would change the behaviour of the Government by forcing it to confront the long-term issue rather than accepting it was an unavoidable cost. … “When you take a long-term model, there’s no place to hide.”

No place to hide indeed. Which is why the Nats have steadfastly refused to measure poverty, have reduced environmental reporting, and now, this:

Suicide reduction goal dropped over fear of Govt accountability

Do we even need to go on?

A goal of reducing New Zealand’s total suicide rate by 20 per cent over 10 years was rejected over fears the Government would be held accountable if the rate didn’t drop.

The target would have seen New Zealand aiming for 12 fewer people to die from suicide per year, each year until 2027. An expert panel created to advise the Ministry of Health concluded that target should be the main purpose of the ministry’s new suicide prevention strategy.

But Health Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman’s office pushed instead for vague phrasing, like “reduce rates of suicide”, that wouldn’t become an “accountability measure” for the Government.

That went against the unanimous advice of the expert panel that said using the clear, measurable target was the best way to get the whole country on board and help cut the suicide rate. …

Because a government that claims to be “delivering for New Zealanders” would hate to be held accountable for the shameful evidence that they are not.

16 comments on “Nats’ shameful surrender on suicide”

  1. Because a government that claims to be “delivering for New Zealanders” would hate to be held accountable for the shameful evidence that they are not.


    To reduce suicide requires addressing the causes and that means research and that has a possibility to show up that this government’s policies are, at least partially, to blame.

    Can’t have that, now, can we?

    • dukeofurl 1.1

      I think we know enough about the causes but as the linked to story says :
      “”Given that around 30 per cent of suicides occur within MH [Mental Health] service users there seems some available levers to address this.”

      My take on the primary factor on male suicide rate from say 19-44 (which would be 3x that of females) is the way young men are bought up- To handle their turmoil within themselves, is just wrong.

      • Yes. While sometimes time alone is healthy, not all problems can be solved with staunch self-reflection. We need to teach young men that it’s okay to talk through our problems if they don’t go away, or to ask for help, and that they should roll with it and be supportive if their friends do so.

        That said, that’s nowhere near the end of the problem. We need dedicated looks into suicide and self-harm in the queer community, where it’s still very common for bisexual people, transpeople, and genderqueer people to be in situations leading to self-harm or suicide. (I don’t know for sure, but it’s possible intersex people also have similar mental health disparities) Gay men and lesbians are doing a lot better since we granted relationship rights, but mental health is still a big issue in the community even for them, where they’re not doing as well as straight people are.

        Also, young women have plenty of issues with suicide. (in their cases, a lot of it is down to “the shit women have to put up with” rather than simply being a teenager, of course, so broader culture change may be necessary there) I’m sure you weren’t intending to imply this was all down to pathological masculinity.

        • dukeofurl

          Womens suicide rates are 1/3 of men. For improved outcomes the place to concentrate first is men 19-44.
          probably unemployed men as a sub group of that

          I was just suggesting why are male suicide rates are even higher in NZ than in similar western countries. [Double that of Australia]
          Yes, its the mismatch of masculine roles to coping with adversity and loss.

  2. dukeofurl 2

    Suicide is legally seen as ‘proof of a self inflicted death’. Many cases , no suicide note and its not ruled as suicide. Even though in broad terms that is what happened.

    The average number of self inflicted deaths is on average around 46 per month, with peaks and troughs
    The highest number in last 10 years was 65, Nov 2010 and lowest was 24 in Feb 2014

  3. Psych nurse 3

    There are certain facts about suicide that are not aired.
    The best predictor of a suicide is a previous attempt.
    Those who express their suicidal ideation do not usually suicide although as a cohort they have the most professional input.
    Youth suicide is largley impulsive in a young person with an imature brain unable to form consequenses, they lack resilience to life, something formed by small failures and adverse life events, all it takes is a relationship break up.
    Taking drug overdoses, self harming, using ligatures is not a cry for help but is a symptom of personality disorder commonly seen in young females, yes they do suicide but not intentionaly, given assistance and time they will go on to lead productive lives, what they don’t need is hospitalisation where new behaviours are quickly learnt and exacerbated.
    People recovering from major mental illness frequently suicide when they gain insight into what their life has become and what their futures will be, the loved ones of twenty year olds with a mental illness who suicide are devestated, less so after years of living with mental illness.
    Psychiatric hospitals are not places of incarceration, we can not lock people up to keep them safe, the doors are open as they should be.

  4. tc 4

    Robertson is such a pissweak beltway trougher. Get some fire into it man suicide isnt a bad cold ffs.

    The words arent hard to find hes just not visceral enough to use them. Land some blows mate !

  5. greg 5

    if the nats stay in power the rates will increase

  6. Fred H 6

    Where are all the RWNJs defending National’s ‘do nothing approach’ on this thread?? Oh that’s right, they don’t give a sh*t about suicide as the depressed and other mental health sufferers don’t really buy into the brighter future narrative, I guess the Nats believe this ugly statistic will go away with some aspirational speaking by Nikki Kaye and vacuous Herald articles about people pulling their socks up….

  7. Cinny 7

    Why even get advice from an expert panel if you are not going to take the advice.

    Young people are killing themselves, this year I’m voting to change the government, cause they are doing jack shit about it.

    Lost a number of friends in my teens from suicide, often you’ll see a big change in behaviour when they are close, all of a sudden becoming more settled. This is due to them thinking they’ve found a solution(aka suicide) to whatever may be troubling them.

    All were young men, and as suicide notes were shared, it appeared that they all had problems opening up and talking about their feelings to others. So sad for all, so sad.

    Parents and elders need educating on how to teach and support their children to talk about their feelings (especially supporting young men). Harden up and all that shite does nada to help and is a weak excuse for not wanting to make a real effort in helping understand their feelings/problems etc.

    A parenting channel on the TV would help educate NZ on said topic.

  8. Stuart Munro 8

    It is shameful. And it builds on the shame of the Clark government who went so far as to prevent an expert from speaking on the issue to Otago University.

    Amartya Sen chose suicide as an objective measure of societal dissatisfaction for his human development index. Now that we lead the world in suicide we need governments that are capable of working to reduce it.

    Neo-liberalism is the cause, it is failing our people. Income and housing security would go a long way to reducing the slaughter.

    Doesn’t seem to be a priority.

    • dukeofurl 8.1

      “shame of the Clark government who went so far as to prevent an expert from speaking on the issue
      Have you got a reference for that ?

  9. gsays 9

    Marty posted a link to the herald’s series on youth suicide.
    One of them dealt with a spate of deaths in northland.
    Enough is enough and resources, money and experts went north and merged the rate.
    The money etc went away and the rate went up.

    Where there is a will there is a way, this regime and minister lack the will.

  10. Keith 10

    As I read this morning of the Ministry of Transport’s blocking OIA requests on technical literal grounds, all I see is 9 years of blocking bad news, intentionally.

    Clearly somebody’s and one particular ex media millionaire in National springs to mind, decided they are above the law and could not care less about silly things like the spirit of the law. But why? To keep National in power, that’s why. And its worked a treat. Wear down an already flagging media, that is those few who still practice journalism and not PR, and carry on unchecked!

    To this day they purposely continue with their unofficial but very coordinated policy of blocking and stopping the flow of information that any basic democracy needs to function.

    Coleman’s only objective is to preserve the business/racket that is the National Party. Who cares about suicide! But what a truly pathetic Health Minister this sorry little man is!

  11. Stuart Munro 11

    Newly-elected Labour MP Liz Twist talks about the death of her husband and says “suicide risk increases when people face unemployment, job uncertainty and poverty”.

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