Rise in teen suicide
Mon, 03 Sep 2012 4:00p.m.
By 3 News online staff
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.
"We had the early rallying around of the community and the fall in numbers, but it was always going to be this time that would see some people not coping with the huge stresses," says Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne.
"We need to keep doing everything we can to keep support around those who are particularly stressed and vulnerable."
Twenty-eight percent of all people who committed suicide were known to be unemployed. Students and retirees also have a higher rate, when compared with the rest of the population.
Around three times as many men commit suicide than women.
"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."
This is the third year the coroner has released detailed suicide statistics to the media. They show a suicide in the five to nine-year-old age group for the first time. The coroner says no details about that case will be made public.
"I continue to believe we need to gently bring the issue of suicide from out of the shadows," says Judge MacLean.
"Coroners have a responsibility to encourage the informed public discussion about how best to reduce the rate of suicide. To have that discussion we need up-to-date and complete information."
"What these figures confirm is there are no quick or easy fixes," says Mr Dunne.
"Suicide is as complex as it is tragic, and each death comes from many factors."
He says a new National Suicide Prevention Action Plan will be released early next year.
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12/11/2012 9:24:29 a.m.
We'll be saying farewell to another youth this week. In the last 3 years I have taken my daughter/s to mourn 4 of their friends. In 3 years. This young fresh faced person will leave behind a beautiful baby girl. Her family, friends are devastated by the tragic ending of her 16 years, her mother whom I sat with is beside herself with complete grief, disbelief and total despair. The other family members are all grieving in their own way. If you choose to read this do the following in the next few minutes, send a text, pick up the phone, take the time to send, tell your (youth) brother, sister, niece, nephew, grandson, granddaughter, your son, daughter, your mate "how are you today, what's happening, love you lots" We have been charged to guide our young people as best as we can and guide we do. Being a parent/guardian, reality is, there is no instruction book, so we use what we know. This child we say goodbye to this week, she will not be forgotten, her memory will be cherished by all that love her. Have you sent text yet, made that phone call, given that hug...I have.
4/09/2012 7:32:06 p.m.
I lost my Dad to suicide not quite two yrs ago. All I know is my Dad had support but unfortnitly once his mind was made up there actually was nothing we could do to save him. Each individual case is different.He knew we loved him though....
4/09/2012 12:10:55 a.m.
taupo lost seven teens in 7 week from may onwards one was my brother a goup of us in taupo got toghther and created sucide action group we help our first even at taupo soupertoures do bbq making aware got shirts printed and the funds we made will go into youth recourse we look of youth as a souirot of sucide if i help one then what a went through was worth it yast year keep strong stay talking about it
3/09/2012 9:18:07 p.m.
@Katrina throw National into the mix and its an even bigger recipe for disaster.
When you cut spending on social programmes... womens refuge... youth hotlines etc... this is where you end up.
Given National horrendous failures with youth employment... this also adds to the mix.
Poverty and hardship increase suicide rates.
3/09/2012 7:40:55 p.m.
There is too much pressure on kids and teenagers these days. Throw alcohol into the teenage equation and it is a recipe for suicide
3/09/2012 7:20:15 p.m.
Dr Terry Creagh wrote:
These are only the known successful suicides, we are not told the numbers hospitalised, or the estimated numbers of attempts. It is pointless to point at Maori deaths as compared to Pakeha. We all are Citizens of Aotearoa/New Zealand, and race ought not be made an issue. We must enquire after the contribution of Government policies (eg unemployed at 28%, pressures brought upon students, poverty at record levels). How do annual suicide rates compare to the road toll (about which we show far greater concern); how many road deaths might themselves have been suicidal in intent? Let's look very hard at the huge numbers engaged in suicidal (self-destructive) styles of living. Why would such a small and "prosperous" first world country have figures such as these?
I believe many people are taking risks (or gambling) with their lives every day.
3/09/2012 6:25:01 p.m.
How much money is spent on booze buses, checkpoints etc to prevent fatalities ?Yet the road toll is small compared to suicide.Maybe this money could be diverted to the extremely higher mortality rate of suicide and it's reduction.
3/09/2012 5:43:05 p.m.
You have to feel sorry for male teens in NZ. "Big boys don't cry, be a man and drink loads of grog" (and while you're drunk, get a girl pregnant or smash a car or commit a crime). Sure suicide is complex, but I feel that not raising the drinking age was a missed opportunity. In any other developed country, those guys may not have killed themselves. We need a society that drinks less (all ages) and doesn't endorse the "kiwi bloke" mentality.
3/09/2012 5:29:48 p.m.
So sad and heart breaking for the families...these people needed counselling and a look at their home life or childhood or school life if teenagers, as to what was the cause? Teenagers need to be engaged into activities and training for work if unemployed and parents need to be actively involved and encouraging, especially if their teenager is feeling down.
3/09/2012 5:12:11 p.m.
My wife made a suicide attempt following bullying by ACC. We fortunately got to her in time. The govt need to put their own house in order.
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