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Frustration as the annual provisional suicide figures rise

Media Release

October 7, 2015


Youthline is frustrated to learn that the annual provisional suicide figures have risen, according to the latest statistics released by Chief Coroner Judge Deborah Marshal yesterday.


The new statistics show 564 people committed suicide last year.


The highest number of suicides was in the 20 – 24 age groups.


“If this were a visible disease, and we had lost 564 people to it last year, there would be a national outcry,” says Youthline National Spokesperson Stephen Bell, “we have become numb, as a society, to this silent epidemic.”


“If one of the biggest ways we are losing our young people in this country is to suicide, what does that say about us as a nation and as a community?” 


Youthline is working toward five key outcomes for young people in New Zealand. That every young person:


Knows where to get help 

Feels okay about asking for help

Can help a mate through a hard time

Is engaged in things that light their fire and, 

Is working as a change agent within their community to make all this happen


We need to equip young people with the tools to be able to talk about what’s going on for them. This is one of the driving forces behind Youthline’s mission to train people in emotional first aid and part of that is helping to make people aware of suicide warning signs.


Those working with young people are in a good position to educate young people, encourage help-seeking from appropriate services and support young people in following through with prescribed treatments.


For 45 years Youthline has been training young people, and the community, how to be alongside young people in times of need. All of Youthline’s youth development and leadership programmes in schools and Youthline community spaces focus on building young people’s resiliency to cope with challenges.


These programmes help young people to understand who they are and support them to develop positive communication skills. This leads to greater self-esteem and lets them know that it is ok to reach out for help if they need it.


Youthline fully supports the Chief Coroner’s comment that “suicide prevention is not the job any single agency or group, but involves all New Zealanders. Greater co-ordination of efforts may be the key.” Proliferation of services is not the solution, but communities which relate to the needs of young people and support them to achieve their potential. 


Youthline needs $525, 600 to run the Helpline, which is $60/hour and $1 a minute. 

An important part of these costs are the critical training programmes Youthline runs which equip young people to be alongside others in times of crisis. 


Last year over 27,000 contacts were managed by Youthline and more than 38,000 young people supported across the country.


The majority of funding for the Helpline comes from individuals and social enterprise activities, with 20% coming from government.  


Help Information


If you are worried about a friend, family member or colleague, feel free to contact Youthline for support. 


It is important to understand the factors influencing suicide because they’re not the same for everyone.


Some of the high priority warning signs are: someone threatening to hurt or take their own life, actively looking for ways to take their own life or talking or writing about death, dying or suicide.

Youthline has created community spaces both physical and digital where young people and their supporters can link, talk and get support.


Youthline’s free helpline is available 24/7 and it’s free text service is available between 8am and midnight. GoChat, an instant message based counselling service which launched in July, can be accessed between 7pm – 11pm every evening.