Te Tari Taiohi
21 May 2001 Media Release
National Co-ordinator Youth Suicide Prevention Appointed
Ministry of Youth Affairs Chief Executive, Anne Carter, announced today that Debbie Edwards has been appointed to the
position of National Co-ordinator, Youth Suicide Prevention.
Ms Edwards will take up the position on 11 June 2001. She is the first National Co-ordinator to be appointed to this
important area of work for the Ministry Youth Affairs.
The National Co-ordinator is responsible for building momentum around implementing the New Zealand Youth Suicide
Prevention Strategy and will work closely with government and non government organisations.
"Debbie Edwards is a highly talented and experienced health management professional, " said Ms Carter.
Currently, Ms Edwards is a Project Manager for the National Immunisation Project with the Ministry of Health in
"She has experience in working in the mental health sector and has worked for the Mind Matters Trust as a consultant.
She has also been a Project Manager and Research Fellow in the Maori and Pacific Health Department at the School of
Medicine, University of Auckland.
"The Ministry of Youth Affairs is gearing up to play a more active leadership role in the area of youth suicide
prevention and is working across a wide range of government and community organisations, Debbie Edwards will be leading
Ms Edwards also brings extensive project management skills and experience to the National Co-ordinator's role. She also
has extensive experience and success in managing relationships in her current and previous roles. These are key skills
she will bring to her new role.
"Ms Edwards has a high commitment to working with those in the area of youth suicide prevention to achieve the goals
set out in the New Zealand Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy. She also has a high commitment to working with Maori in
the area of youth suicide prevention," said Ms Carter.
Ms Edwards has a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts.
"I would also like to announce that Kelvin Stephens has been appointed to the position of Policy Analyst, Youth Suicide
Prevention," said Ms Carter.
Mr Stephens is currently a Youth Mental Health Promoter with Toi Te Ora Public Health/Pacific Health in Tauranga. He has
extensive experience in the area of youth mental health, youth work, youth and community development.
"Government is committed to reducing the level of youth suicide. This requires tangible and informed initiatives that
continually improve how we implement the New Zealand Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy. I believe that these
appointments will help us work towards achieving this.
"Youth Affairs is experienced in leading issues that cross a number of sectors. It is well placed to oversee and
co-ordinate government's implementation of the New Zealand Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy."
Youth Affairs is also working on the Youth Development Strategy Aotearoa that will provide a framework for supporting
the positive development of young men and women.
"The Youth Development Strategy Aotearoa provides the broader context for implementation of the New Zealand Youth
Suicide Prevention Strategy, while not compromising individual prevention," said Ms Carter.