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Dunne: 2010 suicide stats 23.6% down on peak

Hon Peter Dunne
Associate Minister of Health

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Media Release

Dunne: 2010 suicide stats 23.6% down on peak

New Zealand’s 2010 suicide statistics are 23.6 percent down on the peak of the late 1990s, with youth suicides down on the previous year, Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne said today.

A total of 522 people died by suicide in New Zealand in 2010, or 11.5 deaths per 100,000 people. As a proportion of population, this is 23.6 percent below the peak of 577 in 1998, but up slightly on the 510 deaths in 2009, he said in releasing the 2010 suicide and self-harm hospitalisation data.

“There can be small year-to-year variances either way, but what we look for are trends to get a sense of fundamental directions and overall that trend is heading down.”

Youth suicide rates continued to decline, from 19.5 deaths per 100,000 in 2008 to 18.1 in 2009, and 17.7 in 2010.

“Maori are overrepresented in suicide rates, particularly young Maori, and the youth suicide rate is still too high compared to other OECD countries. Rates among young women continue to fluctuate,” Mr Dunne said

For the first time, urban and rural suicide data is compared, showing a higher rate of male suicide in rural areas than urban areas.

“This is timely data we need to be aware of, so we can see what steps may need to be taken to address both specific issues and any ongoing incidence,” Mr Dunne said.

The 2010 suicide and self-harm hospitalisation data is being released just four months after the 2009 data, showing that data collection is getting quicker, he said.

He said the timely reporting of suicide data can only help with earlier awareness of trends.

Continuing improvements in coronial processes and data sharing between the Coroner’s Office and the Ministry of Health have returned the quicker data.

Getting the 2010 figures out in 20 months compares very favourably internationally, he said

Mr Dunne said new investment of $8 million over four years announced in June to strengthen communities to prevent suicide, alongside the Prime Minister’s $62 million Youth Mental Health Package, will assist more people at risk of suicide.

“The Government is currently developing a new four-year suicide prevention action plan, which will build on suicide prevention and mental health initiatives already in place, and which should be released early next year.

“Suicide is devastating. It has a profound impact on family, friends, colleagues and the wider community – we all have a role in helping prevent it,” he said.

The report, which can be found at, also shows 2825 intentional self-harm hospitalisations in 2010, or 66 per 100,000 people. Adjusted to population growth, this is down 23.1 percent since 1996.


Mark Stewart | Press Secretary | Office of Hon Peter Dunne

Cell +64 21 243 6985 |

Support and help for individuals


· Lifeline 0800 543 354

· Lifeline’s Suicide helpline 0508 TAUTOKO

· Youthline 0800 376 633

· Kidsline 0800 543 754 (weekdays 4-6 pm)

· What’s Up 0800 942 8787 (noon to midnight 7 days, for people aged 5 to 18)

· Depression Helpline 0800 111 757

· Samaritans 0800 826 666 (lower North Island and Upper South Island) provides confidential, non-judgmental emotional support through their telephone helpline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to people in distress and at risk of suicide.

· Healthline 0800 611 116


· The Lowdown (for young people) or freetext 5626

· The Depression website which provides information about depression and an online depression self-management programme 'The Journal' presented by John Kirwan, which is backed up by online and phone base personalised support services.

· Samaritans


Primary care professional or general practitioner
Community mental health service through the local district health boards (contact details in the white pages or at

Support for families and friends

· Victim Support provides support for victims of trauma.

· Skylight provides services to support those facing loss, trauma and grief.

General Information Sources

· Ministry of Health - information about suicide and suicide prevention, facts, and Ministry publications


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