MHF response to annual provisional suicide data

Today the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) joins people across Aotearoa to mourn the 565 New Zealanders who have died by suspected suicide.
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Date: 19 October 2023
Ruia te pō, ka ao, ka awatea
Moving from darkness into the light.

Today the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) joins people across Aotearoa to mourn the 565 New Zealanders who have died by suspected suicide.

“Each of those 565 people leave behind grieving whānau, friends and communities. We extend all our aroha to you and acknowledge your deep pain and loss,” MHF chief executive Shaun Robinson says. 

“While we are reflective today about these latest statistics, we know that suicide prevention initiatives do work. The overall trend for the previous decade is slightly better, but there is much more to do.“ Mr Robinson says.

“It’s still concerning that these figures remain stubbornly high. A great deal of good work is being done, but more needs to happen. The incoming government has an opportunity to bring together government agencies and suicide prevention organisations to address the conditions that impact on mental wellbeing such as racism, discrimination and poverty.  A wide range of actions are required with specific approaches for different groups such as young people, Māori, Pasifika and men. Most importantly, we need a co-ordinated and refreshed action plan that builds on the many things that are working, fills the gaps, and has everyone working together to reduce suicide.”

“The Mental Health Foundation and the many thousands of people who work tirelessly to reduce suicide in their communities are acutely aware of the work required to provide the hope people desperately need. Hundreds of deaths are prevented each year and we need to learn from these successes. It is by working together and using the collective knowledge of the wider community, that  we will  begin to see change.”

“We know that there is never one reason why someone dies by suicide. Everyone faces pressures in their lives and how they respond to these pressures can improve their health.  We all need to be supported to develop resilience and wellbeing. Building these skills for children and young people is an investment in mental health and in reducing suicide  – we see hope in programmes such as Pause, Breathe, Smile and Sparklers that are making a difference,” 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. Interpreting suicide data is critical when reporting on suicide. Media need to ensure they don’t encourage narratives that suggest certain populations and regions around the motu are at greater risk. Highlighting suicide prevention initiatives is good, providing messages of hope is vital.


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


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