Canterbury ‘under siege’ as police attend 11 attempted suicide events a day

Canterbury’s mental health is “under siege” following a series of traumatic events, with an average of 11 attempted suicides a day last year.

Police statistics released on Wednesday show 4369 attempted suicide events in Canterbury were reported in 2018, up 59 per cent from 2015. Canterbury was ahead of the rest of the country, with Wellington second at 2670 reported attempts.

Mental Health Advocacy and Peer Support (MHAPS) service director Fiona Howard said the figures reflected what those working in the mental health sector in the city had experienced since the Canterbury earthquakes.

“We’re a population under stress . . . our earthquake sequences were not the normal one-off pattern, we had these ongoing repeated shocks for years then we had the Kaikōura earthquake, then we had the Port Hills (fires) and then the mosque shootings.