MHF response to annual provisional suicide data

Ruia te pō, ka ao, ka awatea. Moving from darkness into the light
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Found in: News / Statements
Date: 25 October 2022

Today the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) joins people across Aotearoa to mourn the 538 New Zealanders who have died by suspected suicide. 

“Each of these 538 people leave behind grieving whānau and friends. We send you all our aroha and acknowledge your deep pain and loss,” MHF chief executive Shaun Robinson says. 

“Within this sadness is hope as we see the number of deaths drop significantly, and for the third year in a row. While Māori are still disproportionately impacted it is very encouraging to see the suicide rate for Māori dropping at a faster pace than the general population.”

“The Mental Health Foundation, along with thousands of others across Aotearoa, are committed to preventing suicide every day. The reduction in deaths shows that together we can turn our suicide numbers around,” Mr Robinson says. 

“Over the Covid-19 period, we’ve seen significant investment in wellbeing awareness, including encouragement to support, and connect with each other. These simple things make a huge difference and help to prevent suicide. We urge the government to continue funding and supporting programmes such as the Covid-19 wellbeing response “All Sorts”, which we know impacts positively on people,” Mr Robinson says. 

“Wellbeing campaigns lead to enhanced social connection, equip people to support each other and have helping conversations, and give people daily activities that build resilience - these are key factors in preventing suicide. We all want a continued reduction in deaths, therefore, we need to keep doing these things.” 

Interpreting suicide statistics is something that needs to be done with care. The trend over the past decade is showing a decline in the overall number and rate, but there is much more work to be done. 

“While any death by suicide is one too many, we are optimistic that this is the third year in a row that there has been a year-on-year reduction in suspected suicides. Given the challenging times in which we live, this further reduction shows suicide prevention initiatives are making a difference. We want to acknowledge the entire suicide prevention workforce for tirelessly supporting vulnerable New Zealanders,” Mr Robinson says.

He murimuri aroha ki ngā taonga kua riro
Our deepest sympathy to loved ones.


Safe media reporting

To ensure safety to vulnerable people, please refer to the suicide media guidelines when reporting on the subject of suicide.  

For media comment, contact:
Mark Wilson, Media Relations Specialist, Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand.
Cell: 021 998 949.


The Mental Health Foundation’s suicide prevention resources are designed to assist individuals, whānau and communities around Aotearoa.  All our resources are free and available to order or download at  


If you or someone you know need immediate help, please call:

  • Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 (mental health, depression, and anxiety counselling)
  • Lifeline: 0800 543 354
  • Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 | 0508 TAUTOKO; 12 noon to 12 midnight (those in distress, or who are concerned about the wellbeing of someone else).
  • Asian Family Services: 0800 862 342
  • Aunty Dee free online tool for working through problems