The Youth'07 study revealed a fifth of gay and bisexual youths had attempted suicide and about half had have harmed themselves(File Photo) A new $25 million Government-launched suicide action plan has no specific initiatives for GLBTI New Zealanders, despite their high risk of self-harm. Research has shown gay, lesbian and bisexual people of all ages are at high risk for suicide and suicide attempts. Firm figures on the issue came from the Youth'07 report which revealed that more than a third of gay or bisexual secondary school pupils had seriously considered suicide in the past year. It found a fifth of gay and bisexual youths had attempted suicide and about half had have harmed themselves. The over-arching 2006-2016 Suicide Prevention Strategy recommends recognising the increased risks by GLB young people and to devise policies addressed to meet the needs of this group. However the Government’s new action plan for 2013-1016 makes no mention of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex people. It specifically mentions the Maori and Pasifika communities, communities which have lost major industries, people in CYF care and people in prison. It's described as building on the 2008-2012 plan, which specifically mentioned GLBTI people, but offered no initiatives targeted particularly at our communities. Funding of $25 million over four years has been earmarked for 30 specific actions in the new strategy, which include increasing support and services for people with mental illness, targeting families and communities, using social media, providing more information through DHBs, plus increased training for police, WINZ and court staff. More support for bereaved families is also promised, as well as targeted work on communities where there are ‘clusters’ of deaths. The plan also promises to make better use of the data the government already collects. “Currently, little is known about risk factors, trends and situations specific to people who die by suicide in New Zealand. Better use of available data will improve understanding of how best to address suicide,” the report says. GayNZ.com Daily News has put questions on whether the new plan includes any initiatives that will target GLBTI New Zealanders to Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne. If you need to talk, please call OUTLine on 0800 OUTLINE or Lifeline on 0800 543 354.
Credit: GayNZ.com Daily News staff
First published: Monday, 27th May 2013 - 1:03pm
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