Updated evidence and guidance supporting suicide prevention activity in New Zealand Schools 2003 - 2012

Publication date: 21 March 2013

This document informs the updated guidelines Preventing and responding to suicide: Resource kit for schools (Ministry of Education 2013) which provides practical guidance for staff in New Zealand schools.

The review draws together the latest evidence for suicide prevention and postvention interventions for young people and their families, particularly in relation to the school environment.

It was undertaken by Professor Sunny Collings to inform the revision of the school guidelines, as part of the suicide prevention research programme managed by Te Pou for the Ministry of Health.

The new school guidelines, initially drafted by Professor Collings and adapted by the Ministry of Education after consultation with schools, are now ready for introducing into schools.

New Zealand has seen significant reductions in serious suicidal behaviours among young people since the peak in youth suicide rates in 1995. Over this time there has been a reduction of 38.3 per cent for suicide and 37.1 per cent for hospitalizations from intentional self-harm amongst young people aged 15-24 years (Ministry of Health 2012).

However, there are good reasons to prioritise activities and maintain programmes that will contribute to reductions in suicide and intentional self-harm rates.