King slams suicide prevention plan

Mike King has resigned from the suicide prevention panel, slamming their draft plan as ‘saying everything and promising nothing’, and full of PC jargon. What he cited on the news tonight did sound like vague PC claptrap.

Stuff: Suicide prevention strategy ‘the responsibility of all of us’

Comedian and mental health advocate Mike King has resigned from New Zealand’s suicide prevention panel, saying the Government’s draft plan is “deeply flawed”.

But it’s not just the Government’s plan, the Ministry of Health has pointed out. It’s a framework for how New Zealanders can work together to reduce suicide, and Kiwis are encouraged to take part in the public consultation process.

King has been a member of the panel since it was set up in December, 2015.

On Monday, King sent his letter of resignation to Ministry of Health’s director of mental health, Dr John Crawshaw.

In the letter, King said he felt increasingly concerned about aspects of the draft plan, which is open to public consultation.

I presume this is what is being referred to:  A Strategy to Prevent Suicide in New Zealand 2017 – Draft for public consultation


From About this draft strategy:

We want a New Zealand in which everyone is able to have a healthy future and see their life as worth living. Reducing suicidal behaviour will help us become this kind of country. Suicidal behaviour is a sign of great distress and impacts on the lives of all of us in some way. Other changes that will help people to have a healthy future include increasing employment and education, and decreasing violence.

This draft strategy sets out a framework for how we can work together to reduce suicidal behaviour in New Zealand, by both focusing on prevention and supporting people while they are in distress and after suicidal behaviour.

Suicidal behaviour occurs in many different places and affects the lives of many people. This draft strategy takes a broader view than previous strategies and considers how different sectors and the whole community can contribute. It also focuses more strongly on preventing suicidal behaviour throughout a person’s life, as well as on integrating and coordinating services and support to prevent suicidal behaviour and help people in distress.

This draft strategy has been developed by a cross-government working group. This draft strategy and the work throughout the country to prevent suicidal behaviour sit alongside a range of other government strategies, policies and programmes of work aimed at improving people’s lives and responding more effectively to the needs of the most vulnerable individuals, families and whānau. It also reflects the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.

This draft strategy is a public consultation document. It offers an opportunity to change how we think and talk about suicidal behaviour, and how we combine our efforts to achieve a shared goal. Government agencies would like your feedback on the draft strategy and your thoughts on how to turn this framework into practical action. After the consultation period, we will consider this feedback as the final strategy is developed. When Cabinet approves the final strategy, it will become the next New Zealand suicide prevention strategy.

Terms used

This draft strategy contains words related to suicide that have different meanings to different people. It uses these terms with the following meanings in mind.

  • Suicide – a death where evidence shows that the person deliberately brought about their own death. In New Zealand a coronial ruling decides whether a death is classified as suicide.
  • Attempted suicide – any action or actions where people intentionally try to bring about their own death but they do not die and may or may not be injured.
  • Deliberate or intentional self-harm – behaviour or behaviours where people try to hurt themselves on purpose but do not intend to die and they may or may not be injured.
  • Suicidal ideation – thoughts of intentionally killing oneself.
  • Suicidal behaviour – suicide, attempted suicide, deliberate or intentional self-harm and suicidal ideation.
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  1. Kitty Catkin

     /  May 15, 2017

    I would have to read the whole thing-I must confess to be prejudiced against the word ‘holistic’. But what you quote sounds reasonable.

  2. Blazer

     /  May 15, 2017

    King is a comedian and unfortunately..he can’t separate his vocation from constructive….reality.

    • Corky

       /  May 15, 2017

      When you have done as much as Mikey to promote and find help for mentally ill people….then open your gob and be witty.

  3. What I found most extraordinary was the fact that this news was considered important enough for ONE to lead with. I cannot understand that at all. King’s emotive delivery, free of solutions or constructive criticism literally dumbfounded me.

    I’d like to add I’m not triviailising this serious issue, but cannot imagine why Kim Jong Un’s missile launch didn’t lead.

  4. Tipene

     /  May 15, 2017

    Gutsy call by a gutsy guy, who works at the coalface of the problem.

    He’s basically saying “let’s ask people in crisis works for them to get them out of crisis, and then……….let’s do that”.

    It;s called practice-based evidence, and it’s (again) the glaring omission from the 2017 draft plan.

    King sees right through the window that the Govt is trying to dress, and has the courage of his convictions to say “Fuck you, and fuck this, I’m off to continue to do some real work on the problem”.

    Just like suicide prevention expert Dr Annette Beautrais did back in 2010:

    Case in point: what Kings private charity can do for net $12.50 per head (e.g. group presentation and education on suicide prevention), costs a state funded suicide prevention organisation 20 x that amount.

    When Mike blows into town, these same state funded organisations try to run their presentations at the same or similar time to Mikes, rather than supporting his clearly more efficient (and much more well attended) initiative.

    More money doesn’t equal better outcome.

    Coleman is so far out of his depth on this one, he may as well have his mail forwarded to the Mariana Trench.

    • Pickled Possum

       /  May 16, 2017

      Yep agree there Tipene. I am reminded of the counselling service in Sth Is that had 600k for 3 years and 12 clients. The gov shut them down in the end.
      Mike King learnt thru experience what nz services had to offer and no doubt he decided to throw his hat in the ring and DO something positive because of the lack of Real Help.
      His high profile as a comedian works well with his kaupapa like john kirwan.

  5. Tipene

     /  May 16, 2017

    @ picked possum: yes, the same situation occurred for a Pacific island Counselling service in Hamilton a few years back, and then again at Relationship Services in 2015.

    7000 reported clients turned out to be about half that number, and no-one could seem to find the files of the “missing clients”.

    Actually, one freelance reporter found some:

    Is they are not measuring it – then they can’t manage it.

  6. Gezza

     /  May 16, 2017

    None of the articles I’ve read seem to have a link the document Mike’s done his block & quit over unless I’ve missed it. Anyway, here it is:

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