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Suicides increase between 2002 & 2005

Jonathan Coleman MP
National Party Associate Health (Mental Health) Spokesman

22 November 2007

Suicides increase between 2002 & 2005

National Party Associate Health spokesman (Mental Health) Jonathan Coleman says the number of Kiwis who died in suicides increased between 2002 and 2005.

According to the Health Ministry website: http://www.nzhis.govt.nz/stats/suicidefactsheet.html - 465 people died by suicide in 2002. Figures released today show the number of people who took their own lives in 2005 rose to 502.

“These numbers have fluctuated. For instance in 2003, 515 people died in suicides. Today’s numbers represent a decrease of 13 on 2003, but an increase of 37 on 2002.

“This Government has ramped up spending on mental health to $1 billion per year, yet it's hard to say what the concrete improvements in mental health actually are.

“Furthermore, the rate of hospitalisations for intentional self-harm is up 7.5% between 2005 and 2006.

“New Zealand has an appalling track record on suicide. We are among the worst in the world and we can’t be complacent.”

Meanwhile, Dr Coleman says on the basis of today’s figures, the rate of suicide is higher for Maori than non-Maori, (17.9 per 100,000 as opposed to 12 per 100,000) but the disparity has got worse over the past nine years.

"The Maori suicide rate actually increased by 5.2% over a three-year period.
"Labour has let down Maori in mental health, and after eight years it's pretty clear things won't get better.

"National will make sure that spending in mental health goes to programmes that produce results, and we will support primary care to deliver effective, localised mental health services that meet the needs of New Zealanders."

ENDS

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