Trial of a suicide mortality review mechanism

21 Nov 2013 | Suicide Mortality Review Committee

The Health Quality & Safety Commission is undertaking a two-year mortality review trial to improve knowledge about people who die by suicide, to identify contributing factors and patterns of suicidal behaviour and key intervention points for suicide prevention. The trial is part of the implementation of the New Zealand Suicide Prevention Action Plan 2013-2016.

Chair of the Commission’s Suicide Mortality Review Expert Advisory Group, Professor Sunny Collings from the University of Otago, Wellington, says every year more than 500 people take their own lives by suicide and New Zealand has a high rate of suicide internationally.

The Commission will review three sub-groups with particularly high rates or numbers of suicide.  These are Maori youth, users of specialist mental health and addiction services (from the time they are admitted to a year after discharge) and men aged 25-64.

A mix of review methods will be used including in-depth analysis of data from agencies, “system” review of a few selected cases and psychosocial autopsy of a few selected cases.  

"Using a mix of methods provides an opportunity to test their suitability for suicide mortality review," says Professor Collings.

"It will also provide information for a simple costing model to enable value for money of various methods to be considered. It is important that stakeholders understand that in the short timeframe for the feasibility trial, it will not be possible to demonstrate some outcomes, including reduction in suicide rates. However, the trial will be expected to identify contributing factors and patterns of suicidal behaviour in those groups and key intervention points for suicide prevention."

The design phase for the review was completed in December and the trial will begin in April 2014.

For further information, please email, or click here to see the call for nominations.

The Commission is aware that some people reading this page may find the content disturbing or it may raise some personal issues for you.

If you need immediate assistance, please call

  • Lifeline - 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland
  • Suicide Crisis Helpline (aimed at those in distress, or those who are concerned about the wellbeing of someone else; 12 noon to 12 midnight) - 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)

Other services available which offer support, information and help are listed below. All are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week unless otherwise specified.

  • Depression Helpline (8 am to 12 midnight) - 0800 111 757
  • Healthline - 0800 611 116
  • Kidsline (aimed at children up to 14 years of age; 4 pm to 6 pm weekdays) - 0800 54 37 54 (0800 kidsline)
  • Samaritans - 0800 726 666 (for callers from the Lower North Island, Christchurch and West Coast) or 0800 211 211 / (04) 473 9739 (for callers from all other regions)
  • Suicide Prevention Information New Zealand -
  • Youthline - 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email
  • What's Up (for 5-18 year olds; 1 pm to 11 pm) - 0800 942 8787
  • - visit the website, email or free text 5626 (emails and text messages will be responded to between 12 noon and 12 midnight).

You could also talk to your GP, local health professional or someone you trust.

Last updated 10/07/2014