A seven year low for suicides

August 21st, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

3 News reports:

New Zealand’s stats are still “stubbornly high” despite being at a seven-year low, the chief coroner says.

Provisional annual suicide figures released this morning show the total deaths for the year ending June 30 was 529 – the lowest number by two since the figures were first produced in 2007.

Youth suicide was down to 110 from 144 last year – 46 teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19 died, making it the lowest figure for that age group in seven years.

“This year’s numbers have moved in the right direction, but not by much,” says chief coroner Judge Neil MacLean.

“The drop in teen suicide is good news. These are the some of the toughest and most tragic cases coroners deal with.”

The drop in teen suicides is especially good news.

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14 Responses to “A seven year low for suicides”

  1. georgebolwing (1,011 comments) says:

    I was taken by the fact that there was widespread reporting of Robin William’s suicide in the New Zealand press, including the mode of death, but there was no apparent spate of copy-cat deaths. When are we going to stop the stupidity of requiring the press to come up with transparent euphemisms for suicide.

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  2. waikatosinger (132 comments) says:

    I wonder how many of those youth suicides involve young men who discover that they are gay. I’m not sure how one could get data on that, but I suspect that this group has always been overrepresented in our suicide statistics. It would be interesting to look at where the drop in youth suicide is occurring. Is a more tolerant society making gay young men less likely to feel suicidal?

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  3. RightNow (7,014 comments) says:

    Seems males are about 3 times more likely to commit suicide than females. We need a Ministry of Mens Affairs to address this egregious inequality.

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  4. Nukuleka (399 comments) says:

    Great to see teen suicides down.

    Pity the data isn’t given for other age groups, but hopefully the over 60 suicide numbers are on the up. After all, the oldies are becoming too much of a burden on our society: using up excessive health and superannuation dollars and draining too many resources from the economy when they are past the time of being any financial benefit to the country.

    Maryann Street has the right idea- send the message to the oldies and infirm that we don’t want them hogging the beds in our hospitals and rest homes and being so much of a drain on their long-suffering families and the state when they are well past their used by dates.

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  5. David Garrett (7,698 comments) says:

    Nukuleka: A very lame attempt at humour IMO

    In fact the full story DOES include a breakdown of suicides by older age groups, and the Chief Coroner notes with sadness the increase in suicides in the over 80 group…My view is somewhat different…IMO if you are past 80, and not suffering from depression, and you decide you want to end your innings at that point, that should be up to you. I have no idea what shape I will be in at 80 – some people run marathons at that age, some have multiple health problems, and the rest are somewhere on the continuum between the two extremes. While suicide by a teen is almost invariably always a great tragedy, for me that does not necessarily apply for suicides by the very old.

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  6. trout (954 comments) says:

    In spite of the hand wringing over suicide amongst older age groups the numbers will increase as individuals are able to make choices about whether to continue to exist with a reduced quality of life. The do gooders harp on about the ‘right to life’ but have little empathy for the right to end one’s own life.

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  7. soundhill1 (311 comments) says:

    @David Garrett: “While suicide by a teen is almost invariably always a great tragedy, for me that does not necessarily apply for suicides by the very old.”

    Would you require a couple of doctors’ signature and counselling as for abortion?

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  8. waikatosinger (132 comments) says:

    Would be fascinated to understand why 4 people downrated my previous comment.

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  9. dime (10,212 comments) says:

    10 people a week kill themselves?

    Wtf

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  10. Nukuleka (399 comments) says:

    trout: How right you are. There are too many do gooders in this world telling us what we can and what we can’t do. If teenagers want to commit suicide then of course I am with you, they should have the right to end their own lives. After all, whose life is it anyway.

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  11. Nukuleka (399 comments) says:

    David Garrett: I’m absolutely with you on that. The Chief Coroner is wrong to express sadness at an increase in the number of suicides in over 80s. He should be pleased that so many of these geriatric has-beens are recognising that they’re a burden on their families and on society. Hopefully more and more of these senile and weak old fogies will see that once they start having to use reading glasses and stumble along the footpath with a walking stick- or even worse use one of those damn mobility scooter things- they’re a nuisance to the rest of us.

    You, me and Maryann Street. I reckon we’re onto something here.

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  12. David Garrett (7,698 comments) says:

    soundhill: To be honest, I have not thought through what the law should be for suicide where there is no illness factor, just that the person no longer wishes to live with what he or she perceives is an unacceptably impaired quality of life,,,I’m not sure that much change in the law would be needed at all, perhaps other than making assisted suicide for someone who is 1) over 80 and 2) not mentally ill; and 3) not under any malign influence no longer a crime, as it is now (everyone who aids the suicide of another, no matter what the age or condition of that other commits an offence)

    dime: are you really that callous? Or have I misread you?

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  13. soundhill1 (311 comments) says:

    @David Garrett: “no longer wishes to live with what he or she perceives is an unacceptably impaired quality of life,”

    We are trained to have points of view.

    And our points of view are formed by what our environment forces on us.

    You David grew up at an interesting time. People had work if they wanted it. Rob Muldoon pretty much knew the name of every unemployed person.

    Usually one income would support a family, so mostly Mum was about to be friends with you when you got home from school. She had had a sort of dignity in choosing her own program for the day, washing the clothes &c, though there might have been more physical work involved in it. Perhaps she had a vegetable garden and maybe even chickens. Perhaps she pushed the baby in the pram to the shopping centre and went between the various shops meeting acquaintances, and talking to the grocer weighing out biscuits, and the greengrocer potatoes &c. Dad would come home after work, or maybe after 6pm closing, and have dinner, maybe help with kids, &c, or hobby, building stuff. Well I ‘m talking about me which would have been a few years before you. TV would have been there for you, before was radio. Years after retirement for men often weren’t too long if they got there. Grandchldren & things. LIfe seemed to have vitality in it, and though people were not totally expert at living together always, it always seemed too soon when a death happened. You’d go to your scouts, orchestra &c, and the oldies would sort be part of you. Life was about people as well as doing things.

    Then getting into the 1980s things started to get nasty. Pressures were on people to compete to stay in a reduced job market, and a lot couldn’t even get into a job. People were still looked after but it became easy for some to get left out. The quality of life you speak of became dependent on the imposed economic system. And I want reverence for life to stay above the demands of the current economic system.

    I hope we can get past this bitterness as I see it which I think has made caring politicians hoping to keep good social structure, lose faith and go to the far right when they can’t beat it. It may be making things worse that they do, if people don’t see through it.

    Then we can make life choices based on a better breath of life.

    There can be times of a good breath in people’s later years these days, even if they are suffering from arthritis &c. But “culture” forced on the young may stop them being able to see it. Those politicians can’t see it who write the laws which make the family home be sold to look after a person in old age. People think of those laws and economics as masters rather than servants they ought to be crafted as. And I shudder as I feel end-of-life choices, “living wills” being made from a viewpoint which is not far-seeing.

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  14. violentrage (37 comments) says:

    Trout and Nukuleka. Please explain how we have no right to end our lives. We do have that right.

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