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Self-harm and suicide


When people consider or attempt suicide, it is an indication that their mental or physical wellbeing has deteriorated to a point of desperation or despair. This indicator looks at children and young people who deliberately self-harm, and those attempting or dying by suicide.

New Zealand currently has the worst youth suicide rates in the OECD. Frequent factors in youth suicide include poor family relationships, drug and alcohol abuse, low self-esteem and family violence.

Self-harm is often seen as a coping mechanism - a way to deal with stress or anxiety, as a distraction from negative thoughts, or as a cry for help. Self-harm can become habitual, and can also lead to accidental death.

If we are to achieve our vision of making New Zealand the best place in the world to be a child or young person, we need to address our very concerning self-harm and suicide rates.

This indicator relates to the 'happy and healthy' outcome.

How will we measure this?

  • This indicator will be measured using data from the Youth Health and Wellbeing Survey - 'WhatAboutMe?'
  • Baseline data from the survey is expected in 2021.
  • This data will be supplemented by administrative data demonstrating suicide rates and hospitalisations for deliberate self-harm or attempted suicide.

For more information

  • If you are struggling with anxiety, depression, feeling down or overwhelmed, and are thinking about self-harm or suicide, help is available.
    • Need to talk - free call or text 1377 any time, 24 hours a day. You'll get to talk or message a trained counsellor. This service is completely free.
    • Youthline - free call 0800 376 633 or free text 234. Youthline is here to support young people.
  • For more information about the Youth Health and Wellbeing Survey - 'WhatAboutMe?' visit:
Last updated: 
Thursday, 23 July 2020