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The Mental Health Foundation is emphasising the importance of strong family relationships in preventing youth suicide, following the release of suicide statistics yesterday.
The Ministry of Health report, Suicide Facts, showed that in 2008, nearly 47 people a week, on average, were admitted to hospital as a result of self harm or a suicide attempt. There were 497 deaths and 2465 hospitalisations.
While the suicide rate of 11.2 deaths per 100,000 people was slightly higher than in the previous year, it was 25.6 percent lower than the peak rate in 1998.
The Maori suicide rate of 13.3 per 100,000 was higher than the non-Maori suicide rate (10.6 per 100,000), but the difference was not statistically significant, the ministry said.
The overall suicide rate among people aged 15 to 24 was down 35.4 percent from the peak in 1995, but the female youth suicide rate of 11.1 per 100,000 people was the highest since 1999.
Responding to the report, the Mental Health Foundation highlighted the services available to those at risk of suicide and their families and friends, saying everyone had a role to play in preventing suicide.
A number of initiatives had been introduced to help young people deal with depression, but, the foundation said, research showed what people needed first and foremost were strong connections to people who cared about them at home, in school and in their communities.
The foundation also had a wide range of information on risk factors and warning signs of suicide, common myths about suicide, understanding suicide across cultures, how to help someone at risk, what to do in a crisis, and what you can do to look after yourself, chief executive Judi Clements said.
"Although there is no room for complacency, it is heartening to see that tangible work is being done in the area of suicide prevention, but it is an area where we can all have a role to play," Ms Clements said.