Suicide rates in New Zealand are out of control and the highest on record according to data released today. The number of New Zealanders who have lost their lives now stands at 579 with the earthquake ravaged region of Canterbury recording the highest rate at 78 deaths followed by the Waikato on 55. The trend of women taking their lives has also increased to 34 while Maori rates were down by only 1 to 129. Another myth that has been blown by the release of the coronial data is that those who were employed were the highest number at 252.
Tellingly, 8 New Zealanders as young as ten are among the recorded coronial data.
Matthew Tukaki, Chair of Australia’s National Coalition for Suicide Prevention has said
“There is no question that reform is needed. In the last few months I have been fortunate enough to travel to dozens of communities and watch people like Mike King and many others talk with families, loved ones and more – the vast number of people are saying the system has let them down; and there is a lot of truth in that. But, for the youngest to be aged just ten years old? Come on New Zealand we have a problem.”
"If what we were doing was working then we would not be having this conversation"
According to the Peoples Mental Health Review the data backs up what is happening on help seeker lines where the number of 111 calls that police code as connected to “meant health” or “attempted suicide” have jumped by nearly 50% in the last four years. Psychotherapist Kyle MacDonald said:
"This represents one call every twelve minutes, every day of the year in New Zealand," the review team said.
"The police communication centre can only assign one code to each call, and these figures represent those calls primarily coded as either 'mental health' or 'attempted suicide'.
"Given there are a wide range of reasons people with mental health need to call the police, these numbers likely also under-represent the volume of mental health work that the New Zealand police are asked to do.
"It seems like yet another red flag among many, and frankly comes as no surprise,"
• 579 people died by suicide in the 2015/16 year. • 564 in 2014/15 • Female suicides increased by 34 • Male suicides reduced by 19 • 25-29-year-old age group recorded highest number (66) • Figures include 8 people aged between 10-14 and 16 aged 75-79 • Māori suicides down by one, to129 • Canterbury had highest number, 78 • Waikato was second with 55 • People who were employed had highest number at 252
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