NZ Herald 13 January 2017
Family First Comment: Disturbing.
The rate among Kiwi men aged 20 to 24 far higher than Australian men of same age.
New Zealand’s suicide rate is higher than Australia’s, with twice as many of our young men killing themselves in recent years.
The study published in the New Zealand Medical Journal compared suicide rates between the nations from 1949 to 2013, with a focus on age patterns.
In the latest year bracket available, 2009 to 2013, the rate among Kiwi men aged 20 to 24 was 29.7 per 100,000 – double the rate of Australian men of the same age group.
The study, Changes in the age pattern of New Zealand suicide rates by Australian clinical professor of psychiatry John Snowdon, was based on Ministry of Health and Australian Bureau of Statistics data, and census data.
While suicide rates were similar between the nations generally, New Zealand’s rate was higher overall due to higher rates among young citizens, including a “markedly higher” suicide rate of youths.
New Zealand has continuously ranked among the worst in the world for levels of teen suicide. An OECD report published last year found we had the highest rate in the developed world.
“There must be continued concern regarding the relatively high youth suicide rate in New Zealand versus the much lower corresponding rates in Australia,” Snowdon said.
Snowdon proposed substance abuse could be a factor in the rise and fall of suicide rates of young adult males.
As well as age patterns, Snowdon also compared suicide rates among Maori and non-Maori with Aboriginals and non-Aboriginals.
The suicide rates of young adult indigenous populations in both countries remained high, but there was a fall in the suicide rate of non-indigenous youths in Australia.
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