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Staying alert to patients' mental health

A note from Pinnacle MHN medical director Dr Jo Scott-Jones.

Mental health, particularly suicide, has been under the spotlight recently and is a significant issue facing New Zealand.

Pinnacle MHN is urging all practice staff to remain alert and vigilant to patients' mental health needs, and to refer patients for additional support, particularly those who may present in distress.

Four suicides have been reported recently in the Tairawhiti community, with one last week in Ruatoria potentially linked to the Blue Whale internet game which encourages people to commit suicide and to recruit others to do the same.

I encourage all practice staff to be mindful of our communities' mental health. This is a significant issue facing New Zealand as a whole, and by working together we can provide our patients and communities advice and help during these times. If you are referring a patient for further support, please note on your referral if they have been affected by recent suicides or events around them and that they need to be prioritised for support. To read the full notice and to access helpful resources, head to our website.

There are several informative websites for further reading, and practices can also access a variety of helpful resources:

·The Health Promotion Agency aims to reduce the impact of depression and anxiety on the lives of New Zealanders. They have a variety of resources for adult and youth audiences to download and information on additional nationwide education campaigns.

·The Mental Health Foundation has a range of resources (posters, postcards, brochures) specifically highlighting suicide prevention.

·Waka Hourua work to build the capacity of whānau and communities to prevent and reduce suicide with a particular focus on Māori.

·LeVa (part of Waka Hourua) facilitate programmes to equip Pasifika families and communities to prevent suicide.

If you have any further queries, please feel free to contact me:

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