It is difficult to draw conclusions about changes over time, because Numbers are small The population of Asian people in NZ increased markedly between 1996 and 2009.
Face sheet 5 What we know about why people take their own life There are no simple or definitive explanations as to why people die by suicide. However, researchers have gathered information over time from people who have considered or attempted suicide, and from families and health professionals connected to people who have taken their own life. This information indicates that there are many different reasons people suicide and often the reasons are not clear to others. The person’s decision to suicide may be driven by a number of motives including: • it may seem like the only way to escape intolerable emotional or physical pain or a sense of hopelessness; • it may be an expression of ambivalence about living; and/or • it may be a way of conveying a message. This could include symbolic gestures linked to the particular method or the location of suicide. What may lead to suicide? For some people, suicide may be an impulsive and irrational act. For some it may be a carefully considered decision –particularly where the person believes that his or her death will benefit others. Some people take their own life or harm themselves apparently without warning. Some give an indication of suicidal intent, especially to friends and loved ones, but also to professionals. The most recent theories about the types of suicide and different motivations to suicide suggest that it may be due to one or a combination of the following:
Fact Sheet 4
Fact Sheet 4
“ SPINZ is a service of the Mental Health Foundation, which is a non-government not for profit organisation based in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. SPINZ staff are based in the MHF offices in Auckland and Wellington”
Suicide Prevention Information for Asian Communities
Suicide PreventionInformation for AsiancommunitiesIvan YeoMental Health Promoter
“Suicide and suicidal behaviours are a majorhealth and social issue in New Zealand.Each year approximately 500 people taketheir own lives.This figure represents a tragic loss ofpotential and a tremendous impact onthose families, friends, workplaces andcommunities that are affected by the loss ofsomeone through suicide”. Ministry of Health (2012)
Suicide in NZ: 2009• A total of 506 people died by suicide• This equates to 11.2 deaths per 100,000 population (age-standardised).• The 2009 suicide rate was 25.5% below the peak rate in 1998.
Sex• There is a distinct gender difference in suicide rates. 77% of suicide deaths in 2009 were males.• 391 male deaths (17.8 deaths per 100,000 male population, age-standardised).• 115 female deaths (5.0 deaths per 100,000 female population, age-standardised).• The 2009 male suicide rate was 25.4% below the peak rate in 1995. The female suicide rate has remained steady over time. Ministry of Health (2012)
Asian suicide deaths in NZ: 2004-2009• 2009: 25 (16 male, 9 female)• 2008: 17 (9 male, 8 female)• 2007: 14 (8 male, 6 female)• 2006: 14 (5 male, 9 female)• 2005: 13 (6 male, 7 female)• 2004: 10 (6 male, 4 female)• Difficult to identify trends: NZ’s Asian population has changed significantly over this time.• Age-standardised rates are not calculated: because the numbers of deaths are small, “rates tend to be highly variable and may be misleading”
There are at least 2500 admissions tohospital for serious intentional self-harm injuries every year.For data comparability purposes, this figure excludespatients who were discharged from an emergencydepartment with a length of stay of less than twodays. Ministry of Health. (2012).
Intentional Self-Harm Hospitalisation(Asian Population)• 2009: 87 (3.4 % of total). Females accounted for 58.6 % of all Asian intentional self-harm hospitalisations.• 2008: 83 (3.4 % of total), 60.2 % female.• 2007: 109 (4.1 % of total), 69.7% female.• 2006: 85 (3 % of total), 71% female.
Why Do People Take Their Own Life? Why Do People Take Their Own Life?There are no simple or definitive explanationsas to why people die by suicideThe reasons that people choose to take theirown life are very complex, and often thereasons are not clear to others. Commonwealth of Australia (2005)
Chinese often regard mental health problems,including depression and suicidal behaviours, tobe caused by social factors, such as a failure tofulfil family and societal expectations.In Chinese culture, there is a strong stigmaattached to suicide, which is often seen asshameful to both the individual and the collectiveesteem of the family.Completing suicide is not really seen as anindividual act, but greatly impacts on families andsignificant others. Suicide Prevention Information New Zealand (2010)
Anecdotal evidence has suggested that the prevalence of self-harm and suicide attempts are increasing.Research in these areas has not yet been focused solely about Asians in New Zealand.
Health and Wellbeing of Asian Students:Youth’07 survey • 15% Asian secondary school students reported having suicidal thoughts in the past year, and • 8% had made a plan to attempt suicide • 4% had made a suicide attempt in the past year. • Overall, 20% of Asian male students and 31% of Asian female students had ‘poor’ mental and emotional health (WHO-5 Wellbeing Index) Parackal et al (2011)
For Chinese, Indian and other Asian students,depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts &behaviours were more prevalent for females.
• For Chinese students, the proportion who had thoughts of suicide decreased from 23% in 2001 to 15% in 2007, and the proportion who attempted suicide decreased from 10% in 2001 to 4% in 2007.• For Indian students, there were no significant changes from 2001 to 2007 in suicide-related behaviours.• Among Chinese and Indian students, 18% of females and 7-8% of males showed significant depressive symptoms. (no change 2001-2007)
• Chinese, Indian and other Asian students are more likely than NZ European students to report obstacles to accessing healthcare.• In 2007, 14% of Chinese students, 17% of Indian students and 16% of Asian students had been unable to access healthcare when they needed it.• Major obstacles included - lack of knowledge about the healthcare system; - cost and transport; - concerns about confidentiality; and - “not wanting to make a fuss”.
Youth’07 recommended:• Recognise the diversity and specific needs of the many Asian communities in Aotearoa New Zealand.• Develop culturally appropriate programmes to de- stigmatise mental health issues.• Provide resources, programmes and strategies that enable the healthy development of Asian young people.
International and New Zealandliterature suggest that resiliencyand protective factors can be moreeffective and insightful than solelyfocusing on risk and vulnerability. Ihimaera, L., & MacDonald, P. (2009) pg32
Defining Risk & Protective Factors• Risk factors: increase the likelihood of suicidal behaviour or make a person more vulnerable; and• Protective factors: reduce the likelihood of suicidal behaviour and work to improve a person’s ability to cope with difficult circumstances. Commonwealth of Australia. (2005)
Risk and proactive factors can occur at:• individual or personal level (mental and physical health, self-esteem, and ability to deal with difficult circumstances, manage emotions, or cope with stress);• social level (relationships and involvement with others such as family, friends, workmates, the wider community and the persons sense of belonging); and• contextual level or the broader life environment (social, political, environmental, cultural and economic factors that contribute to available options and quality of life) Commonwealth of Australia. (2005)
Protective factors may include:• connectedness to family• personal resilience, coping and problem-solving skills• responsibility for children• family communication patterns• presence of a signiﬁcant other• good physical and mental health• positive beliefs and values• community and social integration• economic security in older age. Commonwealth of Australia. (2005)
For Asian communities• family cultures• community connection• access to services and resources• destigmatising mental illness
Current gaps• research to understand suicidality and protective factors in New Zealand’s Asian communities.• culturally competent and accessible services.• accessible resources for a range of Asian groups.
Mental Health Foundation• focuses on creating a society where all people can flourish and experience positive mental wellbeing.• suicide prevention is a core focus of our work, which includes working with communities and professionals to support safe and effective suicide prevention activities, reduce stigma and develop positive mental health and wellbeing.
Suicide Prevention Information New Zealand• a national information service provided by the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand.• provides high quality information to promote safe and effective suicide prevention activities.• contracted by the Ministry of Health to support the New Zealand Suicide Prevention Strategy 2006-2016.
Goals of NZSPS• Promote mental health and well-being, and prevent mental health problems• Improve the care of people who are experiencing mental disorders associated with suicidal behaviours• Improve the care of people who make non- fatal suicide attempts• Reduce access to the means of suicide Associate Minister of Health. (2006).
Goals of NZSPS• Promote the safe reporting and portrayal of suicidal behaviour by the media• Support families/ whānau, friends and others affected by a suicide or suicide attempt• Expand the evidence about rates, causes and effective interventions. Associate Minister of Health. (2006).
“Asian groups areculturally diverse andhave varying degrees ofacculturation to NewZealand society…Consequently, suicideprevention policies,programmes and servicesneed to account for thisdiversity” Associate Minister of Health. (2006).
References• Associate Minister of Health. (2006). The New Zealand Suicide Prevention Strategy 2006 – 2016. Wellington: Ministry of Health.• Commonwealth of Australia. (2005). A Framework for Effective Community-Based Suicide Prevention (Draft for Consultation). Australian Government’s Community Life Project: Adelaide.• Ihimaera, L., & MacDonald, P. (2009). Te Whakauruora. Restoration of Health: Maori Suicide Prevention Resource. Wellington: Ministry of Health• Ministry of Health (2012) Suicide Facts 2009: Deaths and intentional self-harm hospitalisations. Wellington: Ministry of Health• Parackal, S., Ameratunga, S., Tin Tin, S., Wong, S., & Denny, S. (2011). Youth’07: The health and wellbeing of secondary school students in New Zealand: Results for Chinese, Indian and other Asian students. Auckland: The University of Auckland.• Suicide Prevention Information New Zealand (2010) adaptation of Department of Communities, The State of Queensland (2010) Responding to people at risk of suicide: How can you and your organisation help? Auckland: Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand.