2014 suicide figures released
Chief Coroner Judge Neil MacLean today released the provisional annual suicide figures for the year ending 30 June 2014.
The total for the year was 529, which is the lowest number by two since the annual coronial figures were first produced for the 2007/08 year. There were 12 fewer suicides compared to last year, and 29 fewer than the 2010/11 year, which was the highest annual number recorded in the last seven years.
Judge MacLean said, “while it is encouraging to see a slight drop in numbers, the overall rate is still stubbornly high and disappointingly consistent.”
Of the 12 fewer suicides 9 were female 3 were male raising the gender percentage from approximately 72% to 73% male.
What is encouraging is the big drop in the death rate of youth males aged 15 – 19 years down from 43 – 25 to a similar level as females at 21, however the worst cohort for males 20 – 24 remains high at 50 dropping 3 but shows a reduction of 14 down to 8 for females – if we look at 15 – 24 group which is classed as youth suicide, why are we not getting through to the older males here?
Something to think about.
So, that begs the question where is the bad news; the three biggest cohorts increasing are:
Males 30 – 34 up 11 to 33
Males 60 – 64 up 13 to 28
Males 80 – 84 up 11 to 13
The increase in the 60 – 65 age group doesn’t surprise me; it is an age group which I think will see further increases as many fathers attacked by the Family Court system will not be prepared for retirement and will be under-resourced to support their decreasing work capability.
Note: This post is based on the coroner’s provisional statistics from June 2013 to June 2014 and will vary from confirmed government statics which are also recorded by calendar year.
Judge MacLean in his press release replies to Downunder saying;
“Other observations of the 2013-14 statistics show:
Prior to 2012/13 the average male to female suicide ratio was about 3 to 1, while in the last two years it has been about 2.5 to 1.
The lowest number of suicides in the 35 to 39-year-old age cohort since records began in 2007, with 35 suicides (the annual average over the past seven years is 47).”
Given the numbers you quote above Downunder this seems surprising if you record 35 additional males deaths since 2013. Can you please post the sorce of your stats and I have not yet found a site that records the gender breakdown given we know Ministry of Justice don’t want attention to that concern.
Here is the link to the provisional data which I have used:
The links to the left are PR and to the right give detailed breakdowns.
What we can say from those figures is that we men are very good at suicide and the only age group women came anywhere close to us men is 15-19 year olds.
The 2014 statistics show an overall 6% reduction in suicide for women (9 less than 2013)and less than 1% fall men (only 3 less than 2013).
Judge MacLean makes a brave and “optimistic” call to suggest there is any trend showing male suicide rates have fallen significantly and in a downwards pattern.
Folks should remember that the official suicide statistics are based on reasonably well proven suicides only, with no addition for unproven and possible suicides.
Also left completely out, is the suicidal and self-careless component of car crashes, religious accidents, refusal to seek medical treatment and industrial incidents.
All of these added terms are positive values, so that the official statistics may be taken as being less than the lowest possible true number of suicides. As a result of these issues, the statistical uncertainty in the true number is probably about 50 men a year. On that basis, it would seem self deluding to make any judgement over small changes in the numbers per single year. (There are special tablets for self-delusion, though they do cause problems.)
NZ would be a scary place to live, if suicide was not possible……..
JesusBacon – axe murderer.
Quite right Murray, and the same could be said for women in that they are less successful in attempts and can die in hospital from complications and not be recorded as a suicide – it’s what passes through the Coroner’s Office.
These are the figures we get to work with and these are the figures that interested groups will be funded by.
It is an area that men’s groups could consider providing services, both for suicide prevention and to assist recovery from unsuccessful attempts.
This is also the first year in which we have had greater debate and openness in the media around suicide – many people are not informed or are misinformed.
To give this some context, we have 10 suicides a week, seven of which will be male and of those 7 males, one will be a young man in his early 20s.
That figure is likely higher also, but why is this age group so susceptible to suicide?