Suicide rates highest since records began

Chief Coroner Judge Deborah Marshall.  Photo: NZ Herald
Chief Coroner Judge Deborah Marshall. Photo: NZ Herald
New Zealand's suicide rate has hit the highest level since records began, with 668 deaths in the year to June.

That's 17 deaths more than last year - a rate of 13.93 per 100,000 people, compared to 13.67 per 100,000 in 2018.

The annual provisional suicide statistics were released today by Chief Coroner Judge Deborah Marshall, who offered her condolences to the families and friends of those who had died.

"We acknowledge the pain many communities are feeling as a result," she said.

Maori and Pacific Island suicide rates both increased dramatically, while the European suicide rate dropped slightly.

Maori suicides jumped from 142 in the 2017/18 year to 169 in the year to June 30 - an additional 27 deaths, or 19% increase.

Pacific Island suicide rates increased from 23 to 34 deaths, an increase of 47%.

The youth suicide rate also increased dramatically.

The increase in the number of young people dying by suicide was particularly high in the 15-19 year old age group. Last year 53 died by suicide; this year the figure jumped to 73.

In the 20-24 age range, deaths by suicide jumped from 76 to 91.

The number of European deaths by suicide fell slightly, from 462 to 446, putting the suicide rate at 13.46 per 100,000 people.

"The reasons people make this decision are numerous and depend on many factors: their early life experiences at home and at school, their employment status, their mental health, their economic and health status, their sense of belonging, their sense of purpose, their world view and more," the Coroner said.

"It's up to all of us to look out for our family, friends and neighbours – to ask how they're going and coping with pressures in life, and offer our support, to offer hope."

There was hope, the Coroner said.

"I'm encouraged by the suicide prevention initiatives taking place, the conversations people are having, and the success stories of individuals who battled with suicidal thoughts but have come through stronger the other side.

"We mourn those who died by suicide, but for those listening who are in the midst of pain, suicide doesn't have to be how your story ends. The truth is there is always another option, there are people you can speak to, there's something more to live for."

The provisional statistics include active cases that are still before the Coroner who will determine whether they were suicides.


If you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.


• 0800 543 354 (0800 LIFELINE) or free text 4357 (HELP) (available 24/7)
• YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633
• NEED TO TALK? Free call or text 1737 (available 24/7)
• KIDSLINE: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• WHATSUP: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757 or TEXT 4202


whats the far left going to do about this//////// this is the year of delivery well its near the 9th month we are all waiting for many things

Is this what a wellbeing budget achieves...? Whenever the left try to fix social issues they make it worse.

So much for Wellness. It's on the same path as homelessness, housing, employment, transport, gun crime, crime in general, confidence in the future, social cohesion and this governments election chances in 2020.