Youth suicide prevention – promote early resilience


Resilience programmes should be introduced into primary schools for children as young as six and seven, as part of plans to reduce New Zealand’s high youth suicide rates.

There was “clear evidence” that behaviour programmes focused on primary school children, contributed to reducing “later adolescent suicidality as wall as other unwanted behaviours”.

This recommendation is contained Sir Peter Gluckman’ report on youth suicide  released on Wednesday.

Gluckman is the prime minister’s chief science adviser.

The evidence-based discussion paper analyses the multiple factors involved in youth suicide and includes potential approaches to reduce New Zealand’s rates.

The report says youth suicide is “more than simply a mental health issue and that, with what we know at present, the focus must also include an emphasis on primary prevention starting from very early in life”.

“It also means raising mental health awareness and “ensuring that there are competent and adequate adult and peer support systems in secondary schools,” Gluckman said.

The real problem with youth suicide was, “you can’t predict it at the individual level”.

“There are an awful lot of arguments and an awful lot of failed approaches in youth suicide,” he said.

“That’s why we’re emphasising we need to be very careful with any intervention we do.”

New Zealand’s youth suicide rates are among the highest in the developed world.

The report has been prepared by Sir Peter Gluckman in conjunction with the Departmental Science Advisors from the Ministries of Health Education  Justice  and Social Development

It has had input from officials in the Ministry of Health.

If you need to talk to someone, the following free helplines operate 24/7:

  • Depression helpline: 0800 111 757
  • Lifeline: 0800 543 354
  • Need to Talk? Call or text 1737
  • Samaritans: 0800 726 666
  • Youthline: 0800 376 633 or text 234

There are lots of places to get support. For others, click here.


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News category: New Zealand.

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