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'Let's get in behind this' – Mike King backs Government's suicide prevention plan

The Government is set to unveil its suicide prevention plan today which mental health advocate Mike King, who's seen it ahead of it's official release, has called "a good plan".

But he says not everyone will be pleased.

The Government allocated more than $1 billion to mental health in this year's Budget. It announced the first use of part of the funds on Sunday.

King, the current New Zealander of the Year has seen the suicide prevention plan, which he said "is not going to please everybody, but it's a good plan."

"Finally, they're acknowledging that suicide is not a mental illness – it's a case of trauma. There's all kinds of different things involved – self-esteem – so they're acknowledge that," he told TVNZ 1's Breakfast this morning.

King said currently, people going to the doctor for suicidal thoughts are "automatically classified mentally ill".

"Having a suicidal thought does not make you mentally ill – it makes you human," he said.

Source: TVNZ

Speaking about Government's plan due to be released today King said: "It's not going to please everybody, but it's just time that we're united as a party.

"Everyone – all these agencies, all of these people who are competing for funding – time to put down your swords and let’s get in behind this and let’s get in and support it."

He said the long-term plan is "a great start" and the Government "has a proven track record of starting things".

"It's just time we got on with it."

Later on Breakfast today Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said while the issue of suicide is "a hugely challenging problem", the Government is "as confident as we can be" about the release of the prevention plan.

She said the Government went out and "tried to strike that balance between talking to those with lived experience and those on the frontline" as part of the plan.

"All of us in New Zealand want to see those numbers start to decline," she said.

"We've got to get started and so we are. We started the moment we got into office, but the suicide prevention plan – which got shelved some time ago – we're reigniting, we're bringing it back."

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The mental health advocate who’s seen the plan ahead of its official release spoke with Breakfast. Source: Breakfast