Suicide: In New Zealand, a death is only officially classified as suicide by the coroner on completion of the coroner’s inquiry. In some cases, an inquest may be heard several years after the death, particularly if there are factors relating to the death that need to be investigated first (for example, a death in custody). Consequently, a suspected suicide classification may be made before the coroner reaches a verdict.
The number of suicide deaths refers to the number of people who have died by suicide.
The dataset contains data for suspected intentionally self-inflicted deaths up to 2020 because this data is released by the Chief Coroner two to three years before the confirmed suicide data for the same year is released by the Ministry of Health. The Ministry of Health waits to publish confirmed suicide information until such time as coroners have completed most investigations. Numbers of suspected intentionally self-inflicted deaths reported by the Chief Coroner are generally higher than the confirmed numbers of suicide deaths reported by the Ministry of Health, as some suspected intentionally self-inflicted deaths will later be found not to be suicides.
Rates are expressed per 100,000 population. A rate measures how often a suicide occurs relative the number of people in the population, or a subset of the population.
An age-standardised rate is a rate that has been adjusted to take account of differences in the age distribution of the population over time or between different groups (for example, different ethnic groups). The standard population used is the WHO World Population.
The rate ratio refers to the frequency with which these events are reported in one population group compared with other groups.
Limitations of the data
Caution is advised when interpreting rates derived from small numbers as they may fluctuate markedly over time. This may apply to both small numbers of cases and/or small population groups.
These tables presents data on confirmed suicides reported by the Ministry of Health, as well as data on suspected intentionally self-inflicted deaths reported by the Chief Coroner. Confirmed suicide data are reported from 2009 to 2018, while suspected intentionally self-inflicted death data are reported from 2009 to 2020.
Purpose of collection
The purpose of this report is to present numbers, trends and demographic profiles of people who die by suicide or seriously harm themselves. Understanding this data is important for policy makers, clinicians and others who work to prevent suicide and intentional self-harm.
Method of collection/Data provider
In Aotearoa New Zealand, suicide data is reported both by the Ministry of Health and the Chief Coroner. The Chief Coroner releases data on suspected intentionally self-inflicted deaths, including those where a coroner has not yet established if the death was from intentional self-harm. The Ministry of Health releases official suicide data, comprising suicide deaths that have been confirmed to be suicide by the Chief Coroner, in addition to deaths provisionally coded as suicide, when enough information has been received to suggest that the eventual confirmed cause will be suicide.