Suicide Rates in New Zealand Continue to Rise

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Fraser Clarke

Health authorities in New Zealand are being urged to do more to combat skyrocketing suicide rates.

The calls came during World Suicide Prevention Day last week, where it was revealed that the number of Kiwis taking their own lives had risen by 10% - to 660 - by June this year.

Those represent the highest figures since records started being kept in 2007, with the country’s Health Minster, David Clark, describing the new statistics as; “upsetting, sobering and cause for further reflection.”

Despite the figures already being worryingly high, experts have warned that they may actually be even greater - with a great number of cases remaining unreported.

Despite plenty of effort to normalise mental illness, a stigma still remains - especially amongst young people, the elderly and the Maori community - where people may lack the confidence to seek professional help.

President of the Association of Mental Health Councillors, Bev Webers, highlighted what she believes would help reduce the stigma. She said: "You go and have a check-up on your car, you get your warrant of fitness. You have a check-up on your body, make sure it's alright, we would like to see that it becomes part of what we do for our mental wellness.