522 suicides in New Zealand in 2010

More than 500 people committed suicide in New Zealand in 2010.

A Ministry of Health report released today showed there were also 2825 intentional self-harm hospitalisations, which included attempted suicides.

Hanging, strangulation and suffocation were the most common methods of suicide for both males and females.

Canterbury had the second-highest number of self-harm hospitalistions - 325 in 2010 - but the rate per 100,000 people was lower than in the three other South Island district health boards (DHBs)

From 2006 to 2010, the Bay of Plenty, Tairawhiti and Southland DHBs  had ''significantly higher suicide rates'' compared with national levels, the report said.

The report, called Suicide Facts, showed the suicide rate was 23.6 per cent below the peak rate in 1998.

When compared with other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, the male suicide rate is towards the middle of the range. The rate for females is in the top third.

Youth rates for New Zealanders do ''not compare favourably with other OECD countries'', the report said.

''The New Zealand [youth] male rate is the fourth highest and the female rate the second highest of the countries covered in this publication.''

In April, Coroner's Office figures showed that the number of suicides in Christchurch dropped in the immediate aftermath of the February 2011 earthquake but have generally been tracking upwards since 2007.

Suicide numbers in Christchurch also dropped in September 2010.

In February last year, only one suicide was reported, the lowest monthly record since 2007.

Suicide numbers spiked last August, with nine suicides reported.

There were 14 suicides in January this year.

The Press