Awfully sad and depressing statistics show more men are taking their own lives than at any time since 2001, with the highest suicide rates occurring in deprived areas amid growing evidence of the link between austerity and suicide.
Figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that 6,233 people aged over 15 killed themselves in 2013, a 4 per cent increase on the previous year. The male suicide rate was more than three times higher than the female rate, with 19 deaths per 100,000 people, compared with 5.1 for women.
Female suicide rates have remained stable, but the male rate was the highest in 12 years. Men aged 45 to 59 had the highest rate, at 25.1 per 100,000.
In Wales, 26 men in every 100,000 took their lives, and in the North-East of England, where ONS statistics also reveal an unemployment rate of more than 10 per cent – 22 men per 100.000 killed themselves. London had the lowest overall suicide rate at 7.9.
The ONS reported that analysis of the annual suicide rates “suggested that the recent recession in the UK could be an influencing factor in the increase in suicides”, as areas with greater rises in unemployment also experienced high rises in male suicides.
Dr Carl Walker, a Brighton University psychologist and founder of the campaign group Psychologists Against Austerity, said government cuts were affecting the mental wellbeing of people in deprived areas. “There is a clear link between, not just unemployment, but poor employment and underemployment and suicide and a range of mental health problems.”
Joe Ferns, executive director of policy at the Samaritans, said: “The social impact of economic recession lasts a lot longer than the financial impact.” He called for everyone to take responsibility for preventing suicide: “You have got to get all parts of government and all parts of society to think about what they can be doing.”
A government spokesman said; “Our suicide prevention strategy is backed by £1.5m funding for research, and we’ve set a zero suicide ambition to tackle the assumption that some suicides are inevitable.”