Youth suicide

The New Zealand situation

  • Suicide is second only to car accidents as the main cause of death among young people (aged 15-24).
  • On average two young people die every week as a result of suicide.  Each week, a further 26 intentionally harm themselves.
  • NZ has the highest suicide rate amongst OECD countries for females aged 15-24
  • The rate of teenage childbearing in New Zealand is high by OECD standards
  • NZ has the second highest abortion rate (behind the US) for females aged 15-19 years
  • Over the last 20 years the youth suicide rate has increased

So, what is the answer to improving outcomes for young Kiwis?  Getting alongside young people and building better inter-generational relationships is part of the solution, as is improved resourcing for the youth mental health sector.

What’s the Church is doing to support young New Zealanders?

  • Providing special character education for young people in our 13 Presbyterian schools around the country
  • The Church provides values-based programmes like Bibles in schools at many locations around New Zealand
  • Provision of youth groups around the country – these include young people who normally attend church as well as many who don’t.  Youth groups range in format from café style gatherings, to outings, and groups who gather around special interests like music. These groups provide a safe place for young people to gather and belong.
  • Children and young people attend our Christian camps
  • Young people are trained and equipped as future leaders
  • Chaplaincy is provided in schools
  • Through Presbyterian Support, social workers are available in 44 schools throughout the Auckland area.

Check out what the Church has said about keeping our young people well and other important community issues in our media releases.

Where you can get more info

  • Download our Connecting with Young People - A group study resource for a Christian perspective on issues impacting young Kiwis. 
  • New Zealand Council Christian Social Services - Research in the area of children, young people and their families for information on the issues and what action needs to be taken to improve outcomes for young at-risk Kiwis.
  • Youth Suicide Prevention - Statistics, research and information on youth suicide provided by the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand.
  • Youthtrain - Christian website that sources New Zealand and international information and reading around youth ministry
  • Ministry of Youth Development - information about issues, government programmes and services for young people.
  • Youthline - organisation that provides counselling, referral and information for young people and their parents.
  • Presbyterian Youth Ministry - Talk to any of the youth ministry team for advice and assistance about working alongside young people.