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Suicide Prevention Office part of Government's plan to reduce high rate of Kiwis taking their own lives

The Government will establish a Suicide Prevention Office to coordinate action, in an attempt to reduce New Zealand's high rate of suicide.

The office aims to provide "central leadership and better coordination" of suicide prevention work. 

Today the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister David Clark unveiled a five year action plan set to focus on promoting wellbeing, responding to suicidal distress and behaviour and providing support after a suicide.  

It comes as new figures show suicide in New Zealand is now at the highest level since records began 12 years ago. 

In the year to June 30, 685 people died by suicide - 17 more than in the previous year and just under twice the road toll.

"Our rate of suicide is a long-term national tragedy and has been for many years," Ms Ardern said.

"The Suicide Prevention Office provides a focus for the range of on the ground initiatives contained in the Plan that it will take to reduce the number of New Zealanders taking their own life."

Dr Clark said the additional release today, the 10 year Suicide Prevention Strategy, would "set us on a path towards fewer deaths from suicide".

Source: TVNZ

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Jacinda Ardern said the 685 people who died in the year were "685 too many". Source: 1 NEWS