Suicide rates highest since records began


Suicide rates are at their highest level since provisional records began, according to the Chief Coroner's latest statistics.

The annual statistics show 579 people died by suicide in the 2015/16 year, 15 more than the previous record high from 2014/15.

Provisional records first started in 2007.

Suicide rates highest since records began

While the number of people committing suicide is on the increase, some of that can be put down to population growth.

The rate of people dying by suicide per 100,000 people has remained relatively constant over the last decade.

The Chief Coroner, Judge Deborah Marshall, says there needs to be more discussion around suicide prevention and risk identification otherwise there will be no change to the "unacceptably high total".

"Everyone should recognise the importance of taking suicidal thoughts seriously and knowing where to get help."

While the number of male deaths has fallen by 19, the number of female deaths has increased considerably. There were 34 more female suicides in 2015/16 than the previous year.

Suicide rates highest since records began

The ratio of female to male suicides is now 1:2.41, which is the closest since records began in 2007/08. Traditionally the ratio sits at around 1 female: 3 male.

The rate of suicide is at its highest among 25 to 29-year-olds with 66 deaths. 

Mental Health Foundation chief executive Shaun Robinson says we as a country need to ensure people have the skills to overcome difficult times.

"We will see improvement in our suicide numbers when we take action to increase the wellbeing of all New Zealanders, and help ordinary Kiwis to support one another."

"We need to build a social movement where people feel confident to have courageous conversations about what’s going on for them, and for their loved ones to listen without judging and to help them find the support they need."

If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs immediate help, call Lifeline on 0800 543 354 or the Suicide Prevention Helpline on 0508 828 865.