Tuesday, 5 October 2010


Suicide is a word that strikes fear into the heart of a mother, of a father, of friends and family. Suicide is unfortunately all too common in the western world and particularly in New Zealand. As this section of a 2009 report into suicide shows, New Zealand has a shocking rate. Many people's lives are touched by this tragic event.

International comparison

A comparison of the latest age-standardised suicide death rates in 13 OECD countries26 between 2004 and 2006 shows New Zealand’s (2006) rate was the fifth highest for males (18.2 per 100,000 males) and the eighth highest for females (6.2 per 100,000 females).27Finland had the highest male suicide death rate (31.1 per 100,000 in 2006), while Japan had the highest female rate (12.7 per 100,000 in 2004). Australia (16.4 in 2005) had a lower rate of male suicide deaths than New Zealand, as did the United States (18.0 in 2005) and Canada (17.7 in 2004). The United Kingdom had the lowest male suicide death rate (11.1 in 2005). Canada (4.5), the United States (4.4), Australia (4.3) and the United Kingdom (3.8) all reported lower female suicide death rates than New Zealand.

New Zealand had the second highest male youth (15–24 years) suicide death rate (after Finland), and the second highest female youth suicide death rate (after Japan). New Zealand is one of a small number of countries which have higher suicide death rates at younger ages than at older ages.28 (http://www.socialreport.msd.govt.nz/health/suicide.html)

I have now lost two friends to suicide, both men approaching middle age, both men leaving wives and families. I had the worst news on Friday, news of a friend who had suffered from depression for many years. I felt incredibly sad that his life had gone so far down that he felt suicide was his only way out. Incredibly sad for his wife and sons and for the rest of his family. Rest in peace my friend.

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