The Office for National Statistics (ONS) recently published the figures on the number of suicides in the UK in 2014. There were 6,122 suicides in 2014, a slight decrease on 2013. There has, however, been a notable increase in female suicide rates, particularly in the 45 to 59 age bracket.
The main findings include the following (see ONS website for full details):
- There were 6,122 suicides of people aged 10 and over registered in the UK in 2014, 120 fewer than in 2013 (a 2% decrease).
- The male suicide rate in the UK decreased in 2014 from 17.8 to 16.8 deaths per 100,000 population; while the female suicide rate increased from 4.8 to 5.2 deaths per 100,000 population.
- The highest suicide rate in the UK in 2014 was among men aged 45 to 59, at 23.9 deaths per 100,000, slightly lower than the record high seen in 2013. This age group also had the highest rate among women, at 7.3 deaths per 100,000 population.
Aly Anderson, STOP Suicide Project Manager, said:
“We are concerned to see that the suicide rate in England continues to rise, which appears to be because more women are taking their lives. At the same time, the number of men taking their lives hasn’t dropped, despite a focus in recent years on tackling male suicide. More research is needed to understand both these trends and how to reverse them.
“Every suicide is a tragedy. Not all suicides are mental health-related but the majority are and we know that often people struggle in silence and find it difficult to know how to ask for help. That’s why anti-stigma campaigns like our county-wide STOP Suicide campaign are so important – suicide is everybody’s business and talking openly and honestly about suicide can save lives. You don’t need to be a mental health professional to help someone who is feeling suicidal. An estimated 75 per cent of suicides are by people who have not had contact with mental health services.
“A third of local authorities in England don’t have a suicide prevention plan and a similar number don’t collect local suicide data, but we know that where suicide prevention plans exist they can be really effective in reducing the number of deaths. Every local area must have a comprehensive plan that brings together all the relevant local services and agencies involved in supporting people at risk of suicide.
“Suicide prevention measures need to be accompanied by improvements to NHS mental health services. We have heard positive announcements in recent weeks about increased funding for mental health services but without significant investment, services won’t be able to recover and start giving people the help they need, when they need it.”