Suicide rates up - particulary among men

03/09/19 . News

Men are the main reason for the first increase in suicide rates since 2013.

There was an increase of 11.8% in suicide rates in 2018 compared to 2017. The rate for females was up - and there is a worrying increase among younger women - but not statistically significantly while the rate for men increased to 17.2 deaths per 100,000 males in 2018, up significantly from 15.5 deaths per 100,000 in 2017.

The latest suicide rate for males is similar to  2013, when it previously peaked, but it still remains significantly lower than in 1988 when it was at its highest (21.4 deaths per 100,000 males). 

Under 25s

Despite having a low number of deaths overall, rates among the under 25s have generally increased in recent years, particularly 10 to 24-year-old females where the rate has increased significantly since 2012 to its highest level with 3.3 deaths per 100,000 females in 2018.

Suicide is complex and since every case is different, it can be difficult to identify global causes for an increase. However, in July 2018, the standard of proof used by coroners in England and Wales to determine whether a death was caused by suicide was lowered to the “civil standard” (balance of probabilities) where previously a “criminal standard” was applied (beyond all reasonable doubt). The change does not affect Northern Ireland or Scotland.

The government's statistical service the ONS say: 'It is likely that lowering the standard of proof will result in an increased number of deaths recorded as suicide, possibly creating a discontinuity in our time series. With the data in this release, it is not possible to establish whether the higher number of recorded suicide deaths are a result of this change.'

The Forum's CEO Martin Tod said: 'Whatever the reason for the trend, far too many men are still dying too young from suicide. Reducing male suicide has to remain a top priority.'


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