WELLINGTON, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) -- The New Zealand government has launched a new suicide prevention training program named Lifekeepers to help communities build the capability and capacity to support people at risk of suicide, Health Minister Jonathan Coleman said on Friday.
"Suicide has a devastating ripple effect across communities, not just for those who die by suicide, but for their families, friends, colleagues, neighbors and the wider community," Coleman said in a release.
"No single person or organization can prevent suicide. It is a whole of society problem and we all need to be involved, from government agencies to employers, friends and families," Coleman said.
The Lifekeepers program is about increasing participants' understanding of suicide risk factors, helping them identify signs that an individual may be at risk of suicide and teaching them the skills to intervene safely and constructively, he said.
The first Lifekeepers workshops are starting this month and the full program, once complete, will offer a range of modules including face-to-face workshops, online learning modules, refresher courses and post training follow-ups, Coleman said.
New Zealand's annual provisional suicide statistics released last month showed that 606 people died by suicide in the 2016-17 year, the third year in a row that the number has increased.
New Zealand has the highest rate of teen suicide in the developed world.