Suicides outnumber road deaths

The Press 12/08/2010

Suicides should be more widely reported as the number of New Zealanders taking their own lives is 50 per cent higher than the road toll, the Chief Coroner says. Judge Neil MacLean said New Zealand’s suicide rate received little attention in comparison with the road toll, even though significantly more people died. Media reporting was often seen as a cause of copycat suicides, but responsible reporting could potentially save lives, he said. Suicide-prevention experts welcomed the call for more reporting on the suicide issue but cautioned against detailing individual cases because of the possibility of copycats. Statistics released by the Chief Coroner to the Press show the number of deaths ruled as self-inflicted by coroners has stayed at about 540 for each of the past three financial years. In comparison, the road toll has dropped from 435 in 2004 to 390 last year.