New suicide prevention guidelines for EDs

Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman

Minister of Health

4 April 2016

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says new suicide prevention guidelines for hospital emergency departments will help to further improve care for those at risk.

“Suicide is a serious issue for our communities. Around 500 New Zealanders take their own lives every year,” says Dr Coleman.

“New guidance from the Ministry of Health aims to improve the quality of care for people at risk of suicide when presenting to emergency departments. There are steps that can be taken to help assess and reduce those at risk.

“The guidance contains specialised advice on working with Māori, Pacific and Asian populations, as well as young and older people.

“It also covers clinical risk assessment and referral pathways, as well as guidance on how clinicians can better interact with patients. Attitudes of staff towards patients can have a major influence on their recovery.”

The guidance stems from the Suicide Prevention Action Plan 2013-2016. The mental health and addictions workforce centre, Te Pou o Te Whakaaro Nui developed the guidelines with assistance from an expert working group.

“Through the Suicide Prevention Action Plan we are strengthening support for families and communities, and extending existing services,” says Dr Coleman.

“All DHBs now have plans in place, in partnership with their local communities, to prevent and respond to suicide at a local level.”

The Government is also working to improve mental health and addiction services through the service development plan, Rising to the Challenge, and the Prime Minister’s Youth Mental Health Project.

Funding for mental health and addiction services has increased from $1.1 billion in 2008/2009 to over $1.4 billion for 2015/16.

The new guidance can be found at:

Media contact: Kirsty Taylor-Doig 021 838 372


Last updated: Monday, April 4, 2016

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