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Data visualisation: Suicide statistics

Thursday 11th February 2016

Too many people take their life each year in New Zealand. Here’s a breakdown of the numbers that paint a sobering picture of a crucial social issue. 

Each year, the Chief Coroner releases suicide figures in the hopes of giving the public an up-to-date picture of what is a major problem in Aotearoa. 

The New Zealand suicide numbers has remained relatively unchanged for the last eight years, stubbornly stuck in the mid-500 range. 

While it's hard to make direct comparisons with other nations, since countries collect data in different ways, we rank 13th highest in the OECD for suicide rates.

 
Change
Total: 564
10.85 Every week
Male / Female
10-14
5
5
15-19
35
17
20-24
44
17
25-29
45
11
30-34
38
8
35-39
36
10
40-44
44
14
45-49
36
11
50-54
34
16
55-59
34
4
60-64
23
9
65-69
13
4
70-74
14
4
75-79
11
2
80-84
8
1
85+
8
3

According to the latest statistics, 564 people took their own life in the 2014/15 year - that’s at least 10 people each week.

This is the highest number since the provisional statistics were first recorded for the 2007/08 year.

The age cohort with the highest number of suicides was the 20- to 24-year-old group, with 61 deaths, followed by 40- to 44-year olds with 58 deaths.  

Males across all ethnicities are more likely to take their lives than females and Maori men are most at risk, continuing to be disproportionately represented in suicide statistics with 93 deaths last year.

Chief executive of the Mental Health Foundation, Judi Clements, says other vulnerable groups include Pacific Islanders, people living in areas of socio-economic deprivation and LGBTI people.

“Suicide is complex, and it's not always possible to determine the causes of suicide or suicidal ideation."

She notes someone may be at higher risk if they suffer from things like mental illness, addiction, abuse, major grief or illness.

The rate hasn’t risen or fallen dramatically over the last eight years - a sign that more needs to be done to bring it down.

“We need to listen to our communities to find out what they need to prevent suicide. We all have a role to play in suicide prevention, and educating people about what to do when they’re worried about someone, and how we can support each other is crucial to lowering our suicide rate.”

To find more stories on mental health, click here.

If you need to talk to someone about your own mental health, try these helplines. If it is an emergency, call 111.

Lifeline - 0800 543 354

Depression Helpline - 0800 111 757

Healthline - 0800 611 116

Suicide Crisis Helpline (aimed at those in distress, or those who are concerned about the wellbeing of someone else) - 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)

Youthline - 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email talk@youthline.co.nz



Join the discussion »

“To be honest, the N.Z. public mental health services are severely lacking. Trying to access help for a family member has made us feel more hopeless and helpless than ever. After being assessed you are farmed out to a private 'mental health service provider'. To actually see a public health psychiatrist you go on a waiting list for 8 or nine months. This is after you have gone back to your G.P. to get them to write a letter asking to be placed on the waiting list. More expense, time and anguish to even get on the list. I believe the private 'service provider' means that you are not even registered as a client under the public system. Very convenient for the public mental health statistics methinks. We need to make help more accessible. As it is I am sure many sick people just give up and add to the terrible suicide stats. Especially if they don't have a huge support network.” — MichelleandKevan Stewart


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