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Investment in youth mental health paramount

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The Families Commission applauds Prime Minister John Key for his announcement this morning, which outlined significant investments into youth mental health services.

The Commission is well aware that mental health issues are a significant risk factor for New Zealand's appalling youth suicide statistics. Chief Families Commissioner, Carl Davidson believes that the new suite of investments will provide additional resources for schools, communities and families to better asses and treat young people with mental health issues.

"Sixty two million dollars, spent wisely, should go a long way to providing the support that vulnerable youth need to improve their overall wellbeing and to reduce our youth suicide rates", says Mr Davidson.

"New Zealand has some of the highest rates of teenage suicide among OECD countries. What is concerning is that the suicide rate for young men aged 15 to 24 is the second highest for any other OECD country.� While three times more males commit suicide in New Zealand, the female youth suicide rate is currently the highest it has been since 1999. Suicide among M?ori is significantly higher than among non-M?ori. Action to stop these statistics is paramount".

Between fifty and sixty 15 -19 year olds commit suicide each year in New Zealand. "This is an appallingly high figure," Mr Davidson says. "For so many of New Zealand's teenagers to think that their lives are not worth living, is an indictment on our whole society." The Chief Families Commissioner also notes that, in addition to teen suicides, around 25 children aged between 10 and 14 have committed suicide in the past three years.

"The suicide of a child or teen is absolutely devastating for any family and wh?nau. It is families and wh?nau who bear the brunt of the loss, along with feelings of guilt and confusion as to why their child took his or her life," Mr Davidson says.

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