Suicide prevention

We believe all our work towards creating an Aotearoa where everyone enjoys good mental health and wellbeing is ultimately work that prevents suicide
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Suicide prevention is a core part of the Mental Health Foundation’s work.

We are committed to playing a strong role in achieving the goals of Every life matters – He tapu te Oranga oa ia tanagata  – the Suicide Prevention Strategy 2019–2029 and Suicide Prevention Action Plan 2019–2024 for Aotearoa New Zealand. Read our statement about the new strategy and action plan.

We believe all our work toward creating an Aotearoa where everyone enjoys good mental health and wellbeing is ultimately work that prevents suicide. 

We contribute to suicide prevention by:

  • Developing free, evidence-based suicide prevention resources. These resources are free to download or order and have been co-designed with people who have experience of suicidal feelings, suicide attempts and/or suicide loss.
  • Working with media to ensure suicide reporting is safe and follows best-practice guidelines
  • Providing high quality information about suicide and suicide prevention in New Zealand to individuals, whanau, communities, schools and workplaces through our Resource and Information service
  • Sharing the latest research and developments in suicide prevention through our fortnightly E-Bulletin
  • Directing our policy and advocacy work toward outcomes that will prevent suicide in Aotearoa and create lives worth living
  • Working to improve the wellbeing of all New Zealanders

Māori are a key priority audience for the MHF’s suicide prevention work as they are disproportionately affected by suicide in Aotearoa New Zealand. The Foundation is working alongside Māori to support them to help their communities to heal and prevent suicide by building connections with whānau, culture, tikanga and matauranga, and developing resilience and self-worth.

We believe there are five key solutions to suicide prevention in New Zealand.

  1. Build and sustain strong, well-connected leadership
  2. Build a coordinated public health approach
  3. Focus on protective factors and building wellbeing
  4. Address inequity and inequality, target responses to where needs are greatest
  5. Include mechanisms to keep learning

To prevent suicide, New Zealand will need to take a broad look at what is causing people to become suicidal.

On a community level, we need:
  • A reduction in alcohol and substance abuse
  • Tino rangatiratanga
  • Responsible media reporting
On an individual level we need:
  • A reduction in violence
  • Suicide prevention training in communities and workplaces
  • School-based mental health and health services
  • Access to effective treatment by a trained and well-resourced workforce

Currently, our suicide prevention advocacy work has

  • A focus on reducing social and economic inequities, particularly for Māori, as these increase risk of suicide
  • A strong emphasis on a need for trauma-informed, recovery-focused care. We would like to see a shift in approach from “what is wrong with you?” to “what has happened to you?”
  • A vision of an evidence-based system of rating the safety and efficacy of suicide prevention programmes and interventions to increase public confidence in suicide prevention initiatives, protect vulnerable New Zealanders and guide the public, communities and the sector in their suicide prevention mahi
  • A call for equal value and weight to be given to Tūramarama Ki Te Ora


Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor.

Lifeline – 0800 543 354 (0800 LIFELINE) or free text 4357 (HELP).

Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO).

Healthline – 0800 611 116

Samaritans – 0800 726 666

Suicide prevention resources