The provisional suicide toll has risen to its highest figure since the coroner’s office started releasing the statistics.From the year June 2014- May 2015, 569 people died by suicide or suspected suicide.Last year (for the year ending 30 June 2014) that number was 529.The horror of our suicide rate gives us a glimpse behind the ‘she’ll be right’ veneer of our culture and the dark torment of an alpha male macho mental landscape that is terribly fragile.
Our under funded social infrastructure, our ‘me first’ consumerism, our 30 years of neoliberal mythology, our disconnection from one another, our untreated pain, our lack of hope from grinding poverty in a first world country, our toxic masculinity, our unspoken rape culture, our inability to express emotion beyond anger – all of this demands questions we don’t want to hear as a society and the shame of suicide continues to hide and smother any healing.
We huddle frightened on these lonely grey crags at the end of a jagged world and slowly one by one slip off into the swallowing dark. Until we are prepared to confront many of the individualism-over-all myths and rebuild our tattered communities, our suicide rate will remain darkly reminding us of our whispered deceptions.
In 1980 there were 337 suicides - a rate of 10.8 per 100,000. In 1965 it was 9.1 and in 1945 it was 11.
In the year ending June 2014 the rate was 11.73
NZ's suicide rate is tragic and represents hellish grief for far too many. But Bomber's rhetoric about the reasons for it is over the top.