Suicide in the United Kingdom

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Suicide is a significant national social issue in the United Kingdom; 6,045, 5,608 and 5,675 people aged 15 and over died by suicide in 2011, 2010 and 2009 respectively.[1][2] The number of male suicides in 2011 was the highest since 2002. In January 2013, MPs expressed concern at this rise in the number of suicides.[3]

Governmental and other organisations have created different initiatives to attempt to prevent suicides in the country.

Dynamics[edit]

Researchers and sociologists have identified several causes for the high rate of suicide in the country; these include recent recessions, unemployment, austerity measures and loneliness. Research undertaken by The Samaritans suggested that mental-health issues of middle-aged men and loss of masculine pride and identity are also major factors behind the high rate of suicide.[4]

Common methods[edit]

The most common method used in the United Kingdom is hanging. Other suicides reported often include self-poisoning.[5] Suicide using firearms accounts for only a very small fraction, possibly due to tight gun control very few households in the UK possess them (4 per cent).[6] Self poisoning and overdosing are the common methods used by women.[7]

Inhalation of domestic gas was the most common method of suicide during the mid-twentieth century. It was completely eliminated by the 1990s as a result of the replacement of coal gas containing toxic carbon monoxide by the non-poisonous natural gas.[8][9][10] Later, suicide by inhalation of carbon monoxide from car exhausts became common, but has declined since the introduction of catalytic converters.[11]

Statistics[edit]

A map showing the prevalence of suicide in England and Wales, 1872-1876.

In the United Kingdom 6,045; 5,608; and 5,675 people aged 15 and over committed suicide in 2011, 2010 and 2009 respectively.[1][2] The increase in the rate of suicide between 2010 and 2011 was 11.1 to 11.8 incidences per 100,000 people.[12]

Suicide rate
By gender; United Kingdom (2006–2013), rate per 100,000 people
Year Male Female
2006 17.4 5.3
2007 16.8 5.0
2008 17.7 5.4
2009 17.5 5.2
2010 17.0 5.3
2011 18.2 5.6
2012 18.2 5.2
2013 19.0 5.1
Source: Office for National Statistics, National Records of Scotland, Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency[2]
Age standardised suicide rate
By gender and age group, United Kingdom (2006–2010), rate per 100,000 people
Male Female
Year 15-44 45-74 75+ 15-44 45-74 75+
2006 17.7 17.3 14.9 4.4 6.6 4.5
2007 17.6 16.0 15.2 4.2 6.2 4.3
2008 18.6 17.0 13.9 4.9 6.1 4.5
2009 18.0 17.4 13.6 4.9 5.8 4.7
2010 16.7 17.7 14.6 4.8 6.0 4.2
Source: Office for National Statistics, National Records of Scotland, Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency[2]

Suicide prevention[edit]

The government of the United Kingdom and a number of international and national organizations have undertaken a variety of efforts and initiatives to prevent suicides. There are different associations that provide help and suggestions to suicidal people. Some notable organisations include Papyrus (a suicide prevention group founded in 1995 by a group of parents whose own children committed suicide), Maytree (a sanctuary for the suicidal), and U can cope.[13]

In 2012, the United Kingdom government decided to spend £1.5 million to develop planning and strategies on preventing suicides.[14] In January 2013, the social networking site Facebook started a partnership with suicide-prevention organisation "Save.org" to provide data that will be used to identify warning signs of people at risk of suicide.[15]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "UK suicide rate rises 'significantly' in 2011". BBC News. 22 January 2013. Retrieved 18 March 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Suicide rates in the United Kingdom, 2006 to 2010" (PDF). Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 18 March 2013. 
  3. ^ Meikle, James (22 January 2013). "Alarm at rise in UK suicide rate". The Gurdian. London. Retrieved 18 March 2013. 
  4. ^ "UK Suicide Rate Amongst Males Reaches 10-Year High In 2011 And Overall Number Rises 'Significantly'". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  5. ^ "Suicide methods". University of Oxford (Centre for Suicide Research). Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  6. ^ Professor of Health and Mental Health Columbia University Barbara Berkman Helen Rehr/Ruth Fizdale Chair (11 January 2006). Handbook of Social Work in Health and Aging. Oxford University Press. p. 151. ISBN 978-0-19-803873-3. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  7. ^ Alison Wertheimer (9 March 2004). A Special Scar: The Experiences of People Bereaved by Suicide, 2e. Routledge. p. 6. ISBN 978-0-203-36107-8. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  8. ^ Nancy J. Osgood (1992). Suicide in Later Life: Recognizing the Warning Signs. Lexington Books. p. 135. ISBN 978-0-669-21214-3. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  9. ^ J. Mark G. Williams (2001). Suicide and Attempted Suicide: Understanding the Cry of Pain. Mark Williams. p. 188. ISBN 978-0-14-100561-4. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  10. ^ N Kreitman. "The coal gas story. United Kingdom suicide rates, 1960-71.". 
  11. ^ International Association for Suicide Prevention. Congress (1 January 2004). Suicide Prevention: Meeting the Challenge Together. Orient Blackswan. p. 66. ISBN 978-81-250-2553-5. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  12. ^ "Suicides in the United Kingdom, 2011". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 18 March 2013. 
  13. ^ "Suicide prevention groups". patient.info. Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  14. ^ "Suicide prevention strategy backed by £1.5m". The Gurdian. London. 10 September 2012. Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  15. ^ "Facebook partners with suicide prevention project". Wired. Retrieved 19 March 2013.