28 Aug 2017

Suicide numbers rise to highest on record

12:26 pm on 28 August 2017

The number of people who have died by suicide in New Zealand has reached the highest annual figure on record.

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More people aged 20-24 died by suicide than any other age group. Photo: 123RF

Figures released by Chief Coroner Deborah Marshall today show 606 people took their own lives in the year to the end of June.

The toll has risen for three consecutive years and is 27 higher than the previous year and 42 higher than the year to June 2015.

However, the rate per 100,000 people for the year stood at 12.64 which, while higher than last year's 12.33, is similar to that in 2011.

More people aged 20-24 took their lives than those in other age groups, with 79 deaths. The previous year the most deaths were in the 25-29 age group.

Of those who died this year, 130 were Māori, who continued to have the highest suicide rate of all ethnic groups.

Judge Marshall said New Zealand had much to do to turn around its stubbornly high rate of suicide.

"In the last year we've seen a lot of discussion about suicide and the incredible emotional toll it takes on those who are left behind. While acknowledging that people are taking their own lives is important, it is only part of the conversation about suicide in the community."

"What is equally important is our discussion around how we can prevent suicides and how everyone - family, friends and colleagues - is able to recognise someone at risk and ensure they get the professional help they need."

Where to get help:

Need to Talk? Free call or text 1737 any time to speak to a trained counsellor, for any reason.

Lifeline: 0800 543 354

Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 / 0508 TAUTOKO (24/7). This is a service for people who may be thinking about suicide, or those who are concerned about family or friends.

Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757 (24/7)

Samaritans: 0800 726 666 (24/7)

Youthline: 0800 376 633 (24/7) or free text 234 (8am-12am), or email talk@youthline.co.nz

What's Up: online chat (7pm-10pm) or 0800 WHATSUP / 0800 9428 787 children's helpline (1pm-10pm weekdays, 3pm-10pm weekends)

Kidsline (ages 5-18): 0800 543 754 (24/7)

Rural Support Trust Helpline: 0800 787 254

Healthline: 0800 611 116

Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155

If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.

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