Impact News

Responding to Violence, Suicide, Psychosis and Trauma

Rise in number dying by suicide

The number of people dying by suicide every year in the UK has gone up slightly after a decade in which the rate has fallen, according to the latest figures released today.

In 2008, 5,706 people over the age of 15 took their own lives.

This compares with 5,377 in 2007.

This is the first rise in the annual rate since there was a sharp increase between 1997 and 1998.

The figures, published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), continue to show a marked difference in the number of men and women who die by suicide.

In 2008 there were 17.7 suicides per 100,000 men with 5.4 per 100,000 women.

The group with the highest rates continue to be men aged between 15 and 44. Since 2004 the highest suicide rates among women have been in the 45-74 age group.

The statistics show some variations within England, with the North having the highest rates of male suicide.

But in Wales 2008 saw the lowest rate since 1991 with 266 deaths, although the ONS pointed out the Welsh figures have remained broadly steady in the period from 1991-2008.

Stephen Platt, Samaritans’ trustee and professor of health policy research at the University of Edinburgh, said: “In view of the promising downward trend in suicide in previous years, this could be worrying but it may turn out to be a normal fluctuation.

“However, given the strong research evidence of a link between economic recession and suicide, it is also possible that this is the start of an upward trend in suicide which could continue until there is an improvement in economic conditions.

“Any suicide is one too many and it is vital that we continue to work towards ensuring that fewer people die in this way.

“Samaritans persist in reaching out to those who are at risk of suicide by providing our 24/7 emotional support line and by the work of our 200 branches to support distressed and vulnerable people in their local communities.

“We also work with Government in Westminster and the devolved nations on the national suicide prevention strategies, as well as forming local and national partnerships, such as our new project with Network Rail that aims to reduce suicides on the railways by 20% over the next five years.”

Source: Press Association.

28/01/2010

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