Suicide and crashes drive NZ’s youth death figures

NZ Herald 26 April 2012
New Zealand has the second highest death rate for teenagers and young adults among 27 of the world’s comparatively high-income countries. Only the United States has a higher all-causes mortality rate for people aged between 10 and 24. New Zealand’s unfavourable placing at 26th is because of the country’s high rates for youth suicide and youth traffic-crash deaths. The international comparisons are made in a major series of articles on global adolescent health in Britain’s Lancet medical journal. The journal takes a broad definition of adolescence, from age 10 to 24 – some 1.8 billion people, more than a quarter of the world’s population – because of scientific evidence that humans’ brains arent fully mature until at least 24. New Zealand has around 500,000 people aged between 12 and 19. On the latest Health Ministry statistics available, for 2009, New Zealand still had the highest male youth (15-24) suicide rate in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, at 29 deaths per 100,000.

Lower drinking age blamed for high rate of youth deaths
NZ Herald 30 April 2012
New Zealand’s high youth death rate among developed nations has been blamed in part on its alcohol-buying age of 18. A leading suicide researcher, Dr Annette Beautrais, of Auckland University, said this “relatively low minimum drinking age” was a more likely explanation than the better methods New Zealand has over some countries for recording and investigating deaths.