The Bay of Plenty has recorded its highest number of suicides in five years, new figures show.

Chief Coroner Judge Deborah Marshall today released the annual provisional suicide statistics, which show 579 people died by suicide in the 2015/16 year. This included 35 people in the Bay of Plenty District Health Board catchment area, which includes Tauranga, Katikati, Te Puke, Whakatane, Kawerau and Opotiki.

Last year, the Bay recorded 32 suicides and 27 the year prior. In 2010/2011, there were 36 suicides.

Nationally, the deaths are the highest since provisional statistics were first recorded for the 2007/08 year and follows last year's total of 564, which was then the highest total.


However, the suicide rate per 100,000 population for this year (12.32) remains just lower than the 2010/11 year (12.65).

Since 2007/08, the Bay of Plenty recorded a total of 274 suicide deaths, compared to Christchurch's 599 - the nation's highest.

The rate of people dying by suicide remained consistent and showed New Zealand still had a long way to go in turning the high total around.

Judge Marshall said there needed to be more discussion about suicide prevention and how family, friends and colleagues could identify someone at risk and help them get professional support.

"Everyone should recognise the importance of taking suicidal thoughts seriously and knowing where to get help (see below)."

This year's figures show:

• Female suicides have increased by 34 compared to last year, while male suicides have dropped by 19. The ratio of female to male suicides is 1 : 2.41, which is the closest since records began in 2007/08. Traditionally the ratio sits at about 1 female: 3 males.

• The 25 to 29-year-old age cohort recorded the highest number of suicide deaths (66), with the 20 to 24-year-old cohort behind on 60 suicide deaths. Last year the 20 to 24-year-old cohort had the highest number of suicide deaths with 61, followed by the 40 to 44-year-old cohort with 58 suicide deaths.

• Māori suicide death numbers are down by one from last year with 129. Within this total, Māori male suicide has dropped by 10 from last year and accordingly Māori female is up by nine to 47, which is the highest number on record exceeding 38 Māori female suicide deaths in 2011/12 and 2013/14.

• The Canterbury Region has recorded its highest suicide total since records began in 2007/08, with 78 deaths, compared with the previous highest total of 74 in 2009/10.

Where to get help

•Youth services: (06) 3555 906

•Youthline: 0800 376 633

•Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (4pm to 6pm weekdays)

•Whatsup: 08009428787 (noon to midnight)

•Depression helpline: 0800 111757 (24-hour service)

•Rainbow youth: (09) 376 4155

•If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk call 111.

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