Health

Suicide in men 'highest since 2001'

Man alone Image copyright Thinkstock

The proportion of men taking their own lives in the UK has reached its highest level for more than a decade, according to official figures.

The Office for National Statistics data shows 19 deaths by suicide for every 100,000 men in 2013.

Overall, 6,233 suicides were registered in men and women over the age of 15 in 2013 - 4% higher than the previous year.

The legacy of the recession is one explanation for the rise.

Overall suicide rates had been falling consistently from 15.6 deaths per 100,000 in 1981 to 10.6 per 100,000 in 2007.

"Since 2007, the female rate stayed relatively constant while the male rate increased significantly," the ONS report states.

In 2013, 78% of suicides were in men.

The most vulnerable age group were those aged between 45 and 59, however, the rates have been increasing in all age groups except in the under thirties.

The report added that research suggested that "the recent recession in the UK could be an influencing factor in the increase in suicides" and that "areas with greater rises in unemployment had also experienced higher rises in male suicides".

'Shocking'

Marjorie Wallace, the chief executive of the mental health charity SANE, commented: "It is really shocking that men who are or could be in their prime of life should feel driven to such a state of hopelessness and despair for the future that they are taking their own lives.

"SANE's own research shows that many suicides could be prevented, if people were able to talk more openly about their feelings and felt able to seek therapy or other help.

"Our concern is the number of suicides which are preventable and the fact that when people with mental illness hit crisis point, there are no available beds or units and they are sent home from A&E and left to suffer in silence."

Joe Ferns, from the Samaritans, said: "The news is sadly not surprising to us given the context of a challenging economic environment and the social impact that brings.

"We need to see a greater focus at local and regional levels on the co-ordination and prioritisation of suicide prevention activity especially in areas with high socio-economic deprivation."

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