Poverty not only reason for suicide spike, says Key

NZ Herald 30 Oct 2012
Prime Minister John Key said deprivation may be one of the reasons behind the large number of youth suicides but it was not an explanation by itself.   “Of itself, just being poor doesn’t mean someone will commit suicide … the children of very well-off families committed suicide so it is not as clear as that.”   He told his post-Cabinet press conference yesterday he was aware of the cluster in suicides in Northland this year including that of a 10-year-old boy in recent weeks. There have been 32 suicides in the region this year – compared with 17 last year – and about half of them young people.   Mr Key announced a series of measures in April, costing $62 million over four years, to address youth mental health issues including funding health workers in schools.   Maori Party co-leader and Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia questioned whether that was a good use of the money.   Mr Key said gaps had been identified in the delivery of mental health services to young people and the package was designed to fill those gaps.

“What we know is that there is quite a lot that we don’t know about the system. We don’t know what works perfectly.”   But what was known was that a disproportionate number of Maori boys took their lives and that boys were more likely to succeed at their attempts than girls.