It’s Mental Health Week – so where are the suicide stats?

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By Charles Coles: The statistics on suicides have not been released for more than a year, due – we are told – because the Ministry of Health and the Coronial Services have changed they way data is collected and presented.

The latest suicide stats were to be release by the end of September, but as they hadn’t appeared (and it being Mental Health week) a friend of The Buzz made enquiries as to when they might surface.

A spokesperson for Coronial Services said: “The Office of the Chief Coroner, in consultation with the Suicide Prevention Office, have decided that Mental Health Awareness Week should take precedence and will be releasing the annual provisional suspected suicide statistics early next week. 

“The new interactive webtool developed by the Ministry of Health, in consultation with the Chief Coroner, will be launched at the same time. This webtool will provide a single comprehensive source of information on deaths by suicide in New Zealand.”

One would have thought that Mental Health Week is the perfect time to release this data, but apparently government PR people think differently.

Let’s hope we are able to obtain a clear picture on the impact of covid-19, government lockdowns, restrictions of movement, and job losses on the people of New Zealand.

Meanwhile, do make your own enquiries and check the evidence when it is released. And following the advice of St Jacinda of Wellingtonia, please be kind and use Mental Health Week to call a lonely friend and check on anyone you are concerned about.

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