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True impact masked by suicide statistics

Karen McLeay, Acting Chief Executive for Victim Support, says the true impacts of New Zealand’s growing suicide numbers run much deeper than today’s suicide statistics show.

“The unseen victims of suicide are the mums, dads, nannas, grandads, kids, moko, and whanau left behind.

“For every suicide, around five people affected will need support from Victim Support. These include bereaved families, friends and witnesses.”

Chief Coroner Judge Deborah Marshall released the annual provisional suicide statistics yesterday, which show the suicide rate slightly increased in the last year.

In the 2017/18 year the rate was 13.67 deaths per 100,000 people; that has increased to 13.93 in 2018/19.

In the year to 30 June, 685 people died by suicide, compared to 668 the year before, an increase of 17 deaths by suicide. Overall male suicide rates are up 4.8%.

“Suicide is more than losing someone, there is a deep shock to your whole worldview.”

“A lot of our support is in the immediate aftermath, but support can extend to weeks and months after the death.”

“Victim Support will provide the bereaved with tools to help cope with grieving, and practical support with the many formal processes and challenges whanau face after losing a loved one.”

“A big part of our work is also identifying and reducing the risk of subsequent suicidal behaviours amongst those affected and promoting coping and resilience strategies. Those bereaved by suicide are often at significantly elevated risk of suicidal behaviour themselves.

“For those affected by suicide, life is changed in an instant. It is often difficult to make sense of that kind of traumatic event.”

Victim Support is normally in contact with the bereaved within hours of a suicide being reported.

Ms McLeay encouraged anyone affected by suicide, or worried about someone affected by suicide, to call Victim Support on 0800 842 846. For more information visit:

© Scoop Media

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