New Zealand's suicide rate drops for third consecutive year

New Zealand's suicide rate has dropped again but Māori continue to be disproportionately affected, the Deputy Chief Coroner has revealed. 

Anna Tutton released the figures to June 30, 2022 on Tuesday which showed 538 people died by suspected suicide, down from 607 the year before and 628 in the year to 2020. 

The release showed the rate per 100,000 was 10.2 - statistically significantly lower than the average rate over the last 13 financial years. It's the third year in row suicides have dropped year on year. 

"I acknowledge, and offer my sincere condolences, to the families and friends of all those who have died as a result of suspected suicide in the past year," said Deputy Chief Coroner Tutton.

"It is positive to note, however, that the number of suspected deaths by suicide is continuing to fall." 

Director of the Suicide Prevention Office Matthew Tukaki said the organisation is working hard to ensure Kiwis are living "long and productive lives". 

"We recognise all those who have lost loved ones to suspected suicide," Tukaki said. "We are working hard to ensure a significant and sustained reduction in the suicide rate in Aotearoa,

because this means more New Zealanders are living long and productive lives, and fewer whānau, friends and communities are left grieving."

New Zealand's drop in suicide rates is consistent with international data that shows most countries have seen no change or a decrease in the rates of suicides, including across genders and age groups. 

But the data shows Māori continue to be disproportionately negatively affected with a  provisional rate of suspected suicide of 15.9 per 100,000 this year. The rate was 9.9 per 100,000 for Pacific populations and 3.8 per 100,00 for Asian populations.

"It is important to remember that, although it is encouraging to see a continued reduction in the

suspected suicide rate, we can only start to determine or consider a trend over a five- to 10-year

period," Tukaki said. 

"The work to prevent suicide spans across government agencies, organisations, businesses, schools, communities, and even within whānau, and this work will continue until we achieve our goal of no suicide in Aotearoa New Zealand."

Where to find help and support: 

  • Need to Talk? - Call or text 1737
  • What's Up - 0800 WHATS UP (0800 942 8787)
  • Lifeline - 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland
  • Youthline - 0800 376 633, text 234, email or online chat
  • Samaritans - 0800 726 666
  • Depression Helpline - 0800 111 757
  • Suicide Crisis Helpline - 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
  • Shakti Community Council - 0800 742 584