WELLINGTON, Sept. 10 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Tuesday for World Suicide Prevention Day a suicide prevention office will be established to coordinate action already underway to reduce New Zealand's historically high rate of suicide.
Ardern and Health Minister David Clark jointly released on Tuesday Every Life Matters -- The Suicide Prevention Strategy 2019-2029 and Action Plan 2019-2024 for Aotearoa New Zealand.
The plan has three main focus areas including promoting wellbeing, responding to suicidal distress and behavior and supporting individuals and communities after a suicide
"Our rate of suicide is a long-term national tragedy and has been for many years. Change will take time but this plan and the actions the Government has already in place are an important start," Arden said. "There are no easy answers or quick fixes, but the range of actions we are taking will mean better support people in distress."
Clark said "one suicide is one suicide too many. I firmly believe the Suicide Prevention Strategy and Action Plan set us on a path towards fewer deaths from suicide. And the Suicide Prevention Office will provide strong leadership and monitor progress in delivering on the plan."
"It will take time to build new services and new facilities and expand and upskill our mental health workforce - but we're getting on with the job," said the minister.
The number of suicides in New Zealand has reached record high, with 685 people believed to have taken their lives through suicide in the year to June 30.
There were 17 more deaths than in the previous year, an increase of 2.5 percent.
Despite progress, one person still dies every 40 seconds from suicide globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Monday in a statement, calling on all countries to strengthen their suicide prevention and education strategies.