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Suicide statistics - re-publication of report

Media Release
8 September 2006

Suicide statistics - re-publication of report

The Ministry of Health is withdrawing its publication Suicide Trends New Zealand 1983-2003 due to the way in which hospitalisation data was reported in the document.

The suicide-related hospitalisation data refers to intentional self harm events. In Suicide Trends each individual person hospitalised for a self-harm event was counted once. However where a person was hospitalised more than once for a separate self-harm event, the additional events were not counted when they should have been. This situation resulted in an undercounting of the number of self-harm events.

The Ministry is taking the opportunity to add some additional data to the Suicide Trends report that was not available at the time of publication. This will make this a more useful suicide reference report for New Zealand.

As a result of the changes to the hospitalisation data and the inclusion of new data the Ministry will re-publish the complete report under the title: New Zealand Suicide Trends: Mortality 1921-2003, hospitalisations for intentional self-harm 1978-2004
The expected publication date of this is early November.

Please note: The data in the original report was not incorrect, rather it was the way in which it was interpreted and written up. This occurred because this was the first time the Ministry had included hospitalisation data in this way. The error is regretted and the Ministry apologises for any confusion this may have caused.

Details of new data being included:
The additional data relate to extending the time series of the hospitalisation data and the mortality data, in brief these are as follows:

Hospitalisation Data
The change: The time series for hospitalised injury data will be extended to 1979-2004 (it was 1983-2004).
The impact: Provide a longer time series allowing the trends and patterns of self harm to interpreted over a greater period of time

Mortality Data
The change: The time series of the mortality data will be increased from 1921-2003 (was 1983-2003) for age, gender and method, although we are limited to the original time series for ethnic breakdowns.
The impact: This will dramatically increase the information value of this document. The analysis of time trends can now be taken back as far as is practicable allowing a greater insight into the pattern and changing mode of suicide in New Zealand. This will allow this document to be a standard reference for suicide in New Zealand


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