16 May 2017

Ministry of Health defends suicide prevention plan

From Morning Report, 6:39 am on 16 May 2017

The Prime Minister Bill English says comedian and mental health advocate Mike King's trashing of a draft suicide prevention plan is all too predictable.

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Photo: Supplied/RNZ

The comedian turned advocate was critical of the draft plan and yesterday announced his resignation from the panel.

Mike King said he thought the panel would be bold and recommended a target of reducing suicide by 20 percent in a decades time.

"Low and behold, the draft strategy turns up in my inbox, and instead of that we have some politically incorrect nonsense," he said.

Bill English said he'd have liked Mr King to stay on, but wasn't surprised his direct approach didn't work well with the Ministry of Health.

"Just because he has quite a different style and it's got its place, it's very effective and it probably doesn't suit him sitting around in meetings talking generalities," he said.

The Ministry of Health's director of Mental Health Dr John Crawshaw said he is disappointed by the departure of suicide prevention campaigner Mr King.

He defends the strategy and said he hopes the publicity will encourage more people to have their say.

Where to get help relating to suicide and mental health:

  • Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (24/7)
  • Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 / 0508 TAUTOKO (24/7). This is a service for people who might be thinking about suicide, or those who are concerned about family or friends.
  • Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757 (24/7)
  • Samaritans: 0800 726 666 (24/7)
  • Youthline: 0800 376 633 (24/7) or free text 234 (8am-12am), or email talk@youthline.co.nz
  • What's Up: online chat (7pm-10pm) or 0800 WHATSUP / 0800 9428 787 children's helpline (1pm-10pm weekdays, 3pm-10pm weekends)
  • Kidsline (ages 5-18): 0800 543 754 (24/7)
  • Healthline: 0800 611 116

If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.