Suicide is a major cause of death in New Zealand and the most common cause of death for young people. In 2012, 549 New Zealanders took their own lives with suicide rates being much higher in males.
In September 2013, the Ministry of Health contracted the Health Quality & Safety Commission to trial suicide mortality review, an action contained in the New Zealand Suicide Prevention Action Plan 2013–16. This resulted in the establishment of the Suicide Mortality Review Committee within the Commission and the development of the Suicide Mortality Review Feasibility Study.
These two reports are the result of that study.
The trial focused on three subgroups which made up 71 percent of suicides during the study period (2007–11): rangatahi Māori (15–24 years), males (25–64 years) and people who accessed mental health services in the year before their death.
The trial has confirmed the value of independent mortality review committees in providing information to help suicide prevention programmes.
The findings from the trial will be used in the development of the Ministry of Health’s new Suicide Prevention Strategy and Action Plan.