OUR SHAMEFUL STATISTICS
I wanted to do a short post on NZ'S suicide statistics. Short for a reason – so we can all easily digest just how massive this problem is. And, short so it can have the biggest impact on anyone who reads this (also, please share I believe it is our duty to spread the word about this, since the media are too afraid to do it). Below are some of the official statistics published by the Coroner in August this year about suicides in New Zealand. As I looked at the stats I realised that essentially I’d like it if this report didn’t exist at all. Unfortunately, as we can see below, it’s only getting worse:
· 606 people died by suicide in the 2016/17 year – this is the THIRD YEAR in a row that the number has increased.
· This is the highest number of suicide deaths since the provisional statistics were first recorded for the 2007/08 year, and follows last year’s total of 579 (2015/16), and 564 in the year before that (2014/15). It’s disgusting that this has gone up.
· The 20-24 year-old age cohort recorded the highest number of suicide deaths (79). Our young people in the prime of their life, why?
· This was followed by 64 each in both the 25-29 and 40-44 year-old cohorts.
· Last year, the 25-29 year-old age cohort recorded the highest number of suicide deaths (66), followed by the 20-24-year-old cohort (60) and 45-49 age group (57)
· ·Māori suicide death numbers are up by one from last year with 130, which was the same as two years earlier. Māori continue to have the highest suicide rate of all ethnic groups at 21.73
Just take some time to reflect on this, to really think about what is driving our youngest and brightest to hang, strangulate and suffocate themselves (these were the most common methods recorded in the last year followed closely by overdoses and poisoning themselves). Take a moment to forgive yourself if you ever felt like you couldn’t continue. Acknowledge that it’s an illness and thank yourself for still being here, still contributing your beauty to the world. Take a moment to think of those who cannot see any other way out but to not exist anymore. Take a moment to think of everyone who’s left behind constantly asking why? Why? Why? for the rest of their natural lives. Take a moment to think of those who may be in power and have never experienced a loss like this, who maybe don’t even understand what suicide even means, or actually maybe don't care (they probably don't). Think of those who refuse to do anything about this and refuse to acknowledge that a growth in the number of deaths in 3 YEARS means we have a fundamental problem in the way we’re dealing with this illness. Lack of funding and stressed out under-staffed mental health workers suggests to me we might not be tackling it at all. We’re just turning a blind eye. Actually no, those staff are not. I’m not. But, the people who’ve been in power for oh let’s say, the last 9 years or so, quite frankly, seem like they couldn’t give a shit. I wonder what would change if they suddenly felt the pain I feel everyday? When sometimes, out of nowhere, you remember it all again and you’re confused, frustrated and angry all over again 8 years down the track.
Yeah maybe that would change things.
Until then, let’s continue to ignore the problem. Let them eat cake.