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Suicide rates by age in New Zealand - The Reality

Published: Fri 14 Jun 2019 01:17 PM
Ref: MoH Suicide Facts: Data tables 19962015
It is interesting when reading the latest available data (105) the following facts emerge.
• In the past 20 years youth suicide rates have DECLINED
• Rates 45 to 64 have
• Deaths in males 25 to 64 years of age are two and a half times (2.5) that of females.
Any death by suicide is tragic irrespective of age, gender or ethnicity.
The focus on youth suicide has, it appears from the statics, had an effect in lowering the rates of suicide.
It is only in very recent years that talking about suicide in all its aspects has emerged as the most powerful tool in reducing deaths and despair.
However, the group 25 to 64 of age group has been, and continues to be almost ignored.
Taking the two and half times greater rates in males it would seem to be a key area of focus for prevention strategies.
Actually, this age group as a whole is missing out.
This age group are more likely to be working and have other stressors that a young person is not exposed. (Housing, income, children, relationships)
They are also a group that has grown with the belief that “we don’t talk about suicide”.
After all this, “not talking included media reporting” however reporting that they couldn’t report suicide events.
Males, particularly in the workplace, discussions resolved around. “toughen up”, “take a cement pill and “harden up”, or just plan ignored and left isolated.
The media that constantly report of how difficult it is to get help have done little to assist when someone is so overwhelmed with hopelessness that these reports only add to the sense of hopelessness.
A recent (7th June – How to spend the $1.9 b…) 9 to noon RNZ radio interview perpetuated old myths, added to the blame game, was unbalanced and failed to recognise, in general, the hope that is out in the community. These old attitudes will not improve the mental wellness of our community.
It starts with community members, friends, work colleges and family/Whanau engaging in conversations of hope and understanding.
There are now public programs adults can participate in to learn strategies to provide the earliest interventions that provide hope to an individual. This occurs long before a person becomes overwhelmed by the lack of options/hopelessness.
The flow on effect to young people will inevitably support the many people supporting youth to maintain wellness and hope.

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