UK Suicide Rates Spike To Highest Level In 16 Years

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The suicide rate in Britain jumped 11.8% in 2018 vs. 2017 to levels not seen since 2002 – according to The Guardian. Among those aged 10 to 24, the rate was even worse at a 19-year high. 

A total of 6,507 suicides were recorded by UK coroners last year – largely driven by an increase in men, who took their own lives at a rate of 17.2 per 100,000 vs. 15.5 in 2017. 

“It is extremely worrying that, for the first time in five years, the suicide rate in the UK has increased, with 686 more deaths than in 2017,” said Ruth Sutherland, CEO of Samaritans. 

“Every single one of these deaths is a tragedy that devastates families, friends and communities. Whilst the overall rise has only been seen this year – and we hope it is not the start of a longer-term trend – it’s crucial to have a better understanding of why there has been such an increase. 

“We know that suicide is not inevitable; it is preventable, and encouraging steps have been made to prevent suicide, but we need to look at suicide as a serious public health issue.” 

According to Nick Stripe, head of health analysis and life events at ONS, the overall spike in suicides is statistically significant, and reversed a continuous decline seen since 2013. 

People aged 45 to 59 had the highest rates of suicide, at 27.1 per 100,000 for men and 9.2 per 100,000 for women. Stripe also pointed to big increases in the rate of suicide among young people. In 2018, 730 people aged 10 to 24 killed themselves, the highest number since 2000, when 749 took their own lives.

The rate among 20- to 24-year-old males leaped 31% to 16.9 per 100,000, from 12.9 a year earlier. Among females aged 10 to 24, despite a low number of suicides overall, the rate rose to its highest level, 3.3 per 100,000. –The Guardian

With 16.1 deaths per 100,000, Scotland had the highest suicide rate in Britain at 16.1 deaths per 100,000, followed by Wales at 12.8 per 100,000.  

“Looking at the overall trend since the early 80s, we are still witnessing a gradual decline in the rate of suicide for the population as a whole. We will continue to monitor the recent increase, to help inform decision makers and others that are working to protect vulnerable people at risk,” said Stripe. 

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