26 Aug 2013

Chief coroner to investigate suicides among elderly

8:03 pm on 26 August 2013

The chief coroner says his office will investigate the high suicide rate among elderly people.

Judge Neil MacLean has released annual suicide figures that show 541 people took their own lives in the year that ended on 30 June.

He says that number is down six since last year but the annual suicide total has stayed stubbornly consistent since his office began releasing figures in 2007.

Judge MacLean says suicide rates among people who are 85 or over jump significantly, to be 15 deaths per 100,000 people.

The average for all ages is 12 deaths per 100,000 people.

Judge MacLean says his office will now be looking more closely at the common factors in elderly suicides.

He says that will include things like whether the person was living in their own home or in a rest home.