• Suicide is becoming relatively more prominent as a cause of 'external cause' deaths, mainly because deaths from motor vehicle crashes and other 'external causes' are declining and because the all-ages suicide rate for males have tended to increase in recent years.
  • Long-term trends for female suicide rates remained fairly stable over time, except for the large increase in the 1960s, which was followed by a decrease.
  • Suicide case numbers and rates rose by about 9% from 1996 to 1997, a large increase but less than the 14% increase in the number of suicide registrations.
  • A further rise of about 1% is likely to have occurred from 1997 to 1998.
  • The rise in suicide is largely an increase for males aged 20 to 39 years.
  • Rates for males aged 15-19 years have not risen in recent years.
  • Hanging has become the dominant means for suicide and use of this means is accelerating. Rates of suicide by hanging remain much higher for males than females, but are increasing for both genders.