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Suicide Trends can not be ignored: Maori Party

Te Ururoa Flavell, Statistics Spokesperson, Maori Party

Thursday 22 November 2007

“The tragic trends around suicide are something that no politician can ignore” said Te Ururoa Flavell, Statistics Spokesperson for the Maori Party.

“The trends announced today, that the disparity between average suicide rates of Maori and non-Maori is wider in 2003-2005 than for the previous nine years give particular reason for alarm” said Flavell.

The trends over time suggest that rates for Maori deaths by suicide have increased by 5.3% from the previous period (2002-2004), to a new rate of 17.9 per 100,000 population.

This figure is significantly different to the average rate of suicide for non-Maori in the 2003-2005 period, of 12.00 deaths per 100,000 population.

“The disparity between Maori and non-Maori males is extremely marked” said Flavell. “These findings must force all relevant government agencies and community groups to ask the question, why is it that whanau Maori are experiencing such high rates of suicide amongst their men?”

The three year moving average age-standardised rate of suicide for Maori males was 28.4 deaths per 100,000 compared to a rate of 18.4 per 100,000 for non-Maori; the widest disparity in nine years.

“The other distressing finding of the research is that the hospitalisation rate for Maori related to intentional self-harm (attempted suicide) is nearly one and a half times that of non-Maori” said Flavell.

“The level of hospitalisation of Maori females from self-harm is very worrying” said Flavell.

The age-standardised hospitalisation rate for Maori females for intentional self-harm was 258.2 per 100,000 population; compared with 193.8 per 100,000 population for non-Maori females.

“Again I raise a question for us all, why is it that whanau Maori are experiencing such high rates of intentional self-harm amongst our women?”

ENDS

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