More than 20 people committed suicide in Hawke's Bay last year and around 15 attempt to take their own life each month, new data has revealed.
A special report into the number of people committing suicide was sparked by concerns from the public, Population Health Director Dr Caroline McElnay told the Hawke's Bay District Health Board at a meeting recently.
"The report was prompted last year because of concerns that were coming from the community about recent suicides and to see if there was a recent trend in suicides," she said.
"One of the concerns was about increasing rates and we needed to go back and see what the data actually said about that."
Extra data had to be sourced from Police to paint an accurate picture, due to the two-year time lapse between a person's death and the official ruling by a coroner.
Findings compared the number of people who took their own lives last year to data since 1990, and showed no discernible trends relating to age, ethnicity, or gender, Dr McElnay said.
In 2010, there were 27 suicide deaths and 19 in 2009.
Rates peaked in 2001 and 2006 at 30 deaths.
Dr McElnay said figures showed a decline in suicide rates for 15 to 24-year-olds between 2000 and 2008 had been offset by recent increases in youth rates, and a decline in recent Maori suicide rates had offset ethnicity trends.
The report also showed an average of 15 people hospitalised each month after trying to take their own lives. Most were 15 to 24-year-olds and 67 per cent of all admissions were females.
The report will be used to assess services in place for suicide prevention and support for those affected by suicide in Hawke's Bay.
Suicide in HB
- 22 people committed suicide in Hawke's Bay in 2011, compared with 27 in 2010 and 19 in 2009
- About 15 people attempt to take their own life each month in Hawke's Bay, fewer than national averages
- Rates were highest amongst 15 to 24-year-olds and 25 to 44-year-olds
- Maori suicide rates were highest in 2010, but dropped in 2011