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Published Friday 2 Nov 2018

Capital & Coast DHB and Regional Public Health are satisfied with our response to the recent tragic suicides in Porirua. We are working to ensure members of the community, who may be at risk, are well-supported.

Suicide has a significant and tragic impact on the community, and providing support is a top priority. We are committed to working with the community to look at service responses and supports for people at risk in our community. Anyone in need of support should contact our crisis mental health contact centre Te Haika on 0800 745 477.

We have been working very closely with the community and providers since May this year in response to each individual suspected suicide.

Part of this work has involved the identification of any other at-risk youths, and creating strategies to reduce the risk of further suicides occurring.

Late September, after a period of ongoing support and collaboration, it was declared that a cluster had developed due to the number of suicides, geographical location, and relationship to each other.

At this point, Clinical Advisory Services Aotearoa (CASA) the Ministry of Health’s response service, was activated to provide further support to our services through an urgent postvention response.

As part of this response, Capital & Coast DHB provided funding to a local NGO for the employment of two full-time mental health clinicians, who provide support, guidance and counselling to students across four local high schools.

Throughout this process, we have been involved in in-depth discussions with local schools and providers, to plan an approach to best support the Porirua community, recognising the number of deaths and the loss felt in this community.

There are a number of non-government agencies at work in the area and we are developing a coalition to bring the different teams together who may be working with people affected by this cluster of suicides.

While suicide is complex, each and every death is a potentially-preventable tragedy. Capital & Coast DHB is working on an updated approach to suicide prevention which will draw on best practice, expertise and understanding of preventing suicide.

Although it can be difficult, it’s important that we can all have safe and open conversations about mental health and suicide. The Mental Health Foundation has a range of resources available to support conversations with youth and promote wellbeing.