New Zealand’s “stubbornly high rate” of suicide has continued to climb and reached a record 606 deaths in the past year.
The provisional figures for the 2016-2017 year have been released today by Chief Coroner Judge Deborah Marshall.
The figures come two weeks after the Herald wrapped up a six-week series, Break the Silence, which addressed youth suicide; tackling the suffering of those suicidally depressed, the anguish of families and challenging the code of silence around the subject.
Mental health ambassador Mike King said, “there is this whole culture that says if you open up and talk about problems you’re weak, and it’s killing our kids. It needs to stop.”
The latest suicide figures are the highest since records were first recorded nine years ago. Last year 579 New Zealanders committed suicide and the figure was 564 the year before.
But while the suicide rate per 100,000 people was higher than last year at 12.64 compared to 12.33, it was similar to the figure of 12.65 in the 2010-2011 year.
Judge Marshall said New Zealand had much to do to turn around its stubbornly high rate of suicide.
“In the last year we’ve seen a lot of discussion about suicide and the incredible emotional toll it takes on those who are left behind. While acknowledging that people are taking their own lives is important, it is only part of the conversation about suicide in the community.
“What is equally important is our discussion around how we can prevent suicides and how everyone – family, friends and colleagues – is able to recognise someone at risk and ensure they get the professional help they need,” Judge Marshall said.
This year’s figures show:
The 20-24-year-old age group recorded the highest number of suicides at 79.
This was followed by 64 deaths in each of the 25-29 and 40-44 age groups.
The number of men committing suicide jumped from 409 last year to 457 this year, but fell for woman from 170 last year to 149 this year.
Maori continue to have the highest suicide rate of 21.73 per 100,000 people with 130 deaths this year, the same as two years ago.
Where to get help:
If you are worried about your or someone else’s mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.
Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor.
Or if you need to talk to someone else:
Lifeline – 0800 543 354
Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
Youthline – 0800 376 633 or free text 234
Kidsline – 0800 54 37 54 (for under 18s)
What’s Up – 0800 942 8787 (for 5–18 year olds 1pm–10pm weekdays and 3pm–10pm weekends)
Depression Helpline – 0800 111 757 or free text 4202
Samaritans – 0800 726 666
OUTLine NZ – 0800 688 5463
Healthline – 0800 611 116