October 19, 2023
Māori suicide rate remains high
Māori continue to be overrepresented in suicide numbers.
The Office of the Chief Coroner says 565 people died by suspected suicide in the year to June 30, a rate of 10.6 people per 100,000.
For Māori provisional rate of suspected suicide is 15.8 per 100,000 people for the 22/23 financial year, which has not changed compared with the average over the past 14 years.
The rate for Pacific populations has dropped to 5.1 per 100,000 people, and for Asian peoples it is 4.1 per 100,000.
Dr Sarah Hetrick, the acting director of the Health Ministry’s Suicide Prevention Office, says reducing the burden of suicide requires a systems-level, whole-of-government response that addresses structural determinants such as poverty, racism, discrimination and post-colonial legacy.
“We also need to reduce exposure to factors that increase the risk of suicide such as violence of all types, alcohol-related harm, stand-down and exclusion from schools and harmful communication about self-harm and suicide,” she says.
The rate for the 22/23 year is lower than the average rate over the last 14 financial years, and lower than the rate immediately prior to COVID-19 in the 18/19 financial year, which was 13.1 per 100,000 people.
The decrease is not statistically significant. New Zealand remains in step with international data that shows no change or a decrease in rates of suicide over the past several years.