3 News 3 Sep 2012
In the year to June, 547 people in New Zealand committed suicide – including a child under the age of 10. The total number of deaths is 11 lower than last year, a slight decline that obscures some “concerning trends”, according to chief coroner Judge Neil MacLean. The average number of suicides each year since the Ministry of Justice began collating statistics is 543. In the last year however there was a significant rise in teen suicide. In the 15 to 19-year-old age group, there were 80 suicides, up from 56 the year before. Maori teens in particular have been hard hit, with 37 suicides in the 15 to 19-year-old age group, compared to 21 in 2010/11. But the suicide rate for people aged 50 to 74 dropped, as did the rate in Christchurch in the period immediately following the September 2010 and February 2011 quakes. The coroner states this is a phenomenon that has been seen following other large-scale crisis events.
“The annual number of suicides has remained relatively constant, but our latest figures show some concerning trends,” says Judge MacLean. “Significant is the jump in teenage suicide numbers, and the continued rise of Maori suicides, in particular young Maori.”