A report released last week shines a light on what New Zealanders really know about their country and what they think is true about a number of important issues.
The global report shows, as far as knowing themselves and the state of their country, New Zealanders don't fare too badly - we're pretty average, in fact.
The report, by Ipsos, shows New Zealanders think, for example, that immigrants make up a much greater proportion of the New Zealand prison population than they actually do. Kiwis think 27 per cent of people in prison are foreigners when, in fact, only 1.9 per cent are.
Kiwis also think the murder rate is considerably higher than it is: the study shows 48 per cent think the murder rate is higher now or the same it was in 2000 when, in fact, it is about 31 per cent lower.
But for all the things Kiwis think they're worse at than they actually are, there are also some dark statistics we seem to look at quite lightly.
For example, New Zealanders underestimate the proportion of young deaths by suicide. Kiwis guessed that 26 per cent of deaths of women aged 15-24 were due to suicide when in fact the number is 37 per cent. Additionally, New Zealanders think 29 per cent of male deaths between the ages of 15 to 24 are by suicide when the number is considerably higher at 41 per cent.
A number of reports released this year highlighted the country's sobering data on a range of different matters, from childhood bullying to family violence and, most recently, literacy.
• About 14 per cent of New Zealand children suffer material hardship and the country is at the bottom of the developed world for child poverty.
• A total of 606 New Zealanders have committed suicide in the past year alone.
• New Zealand has the worst level of homelessness in the OECD. Figures released this year by YaleGlobal Online show more than 40,000 people live on the streets or in emergency housing or substandard shelters.
• The homelessness issue is growing at an alarming rate. Between 2006 and 2013, homelessness grew by 25 per cent.
• New Zealand is the worst in the developed world for teen suicides. A Unicef report shows that 15.6 out of 100,000 Kiwis aged 15-19 take their own lives. This is twice as high as the rate of teen suicide in the US and five times the rate in Britain.
• We have the second highest rate of bullying in the OECD. Just over a quarter of our students have been bullied at least a few times a month.
• We have the worst levels of family violence in the developed world and a shocking 80 per cent of cases go unreported.
• Kiwi children are among the most overweight in the world. Nearly one third of Kiwi children and teens will be overweight or obese by 2025, the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) has warned. A total of 32 per cent of the overall adult population (15 and older) is obese.
• New Zealand dropped 10 places (to 32 out of 50 countries) in the latest international Pirls reading test for 10-year-olds — putting us below the global median.
• Our skin cancer rates are the highest in the world. In fact, the incidence of melanoma in New Zealand and Australia is about four times higher than in Canada, the US and the UK.
Where to get help
If you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.
Or if you need to talk to someone else:
• LIFELINE: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• SUICIDE CRISIS HELPLINE: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633
• NEED TO TALK? Free call or text 1737 (available 24/7)
• KIDSLINE: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• WHATSUP: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
• SAMARITANS: 0800 726 666
• OUTLINE: 0800 688 5463 (confidential service for the LGBTQI+ community, their friends and families)
• RURAL SUPPORT TRUST: 0800 787 254.