Male suicide rate highest for two decades, new data shows

The suicide rate for men in England and Wales in 2019 was the highest for two decades, official figures show.

New data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), published on Tuesday, found there were 5,691 suicides registered in England and Wales in 2019, with an age-standardised rate of 11 deaths per 100,000 population.

The ONS said men accounted for around three-quarters of suicide deaths registered in 2019 – 4,303 compared with 1,388 women.

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The England and Wales male suicide rate of 16.9 deaths per 100,000 was the highest since 2000 but remained in the line with the 2018 rate, it added.

The rate for women was 5.3 deaths per 100,000, the highest since 2004.

Men aged 45 to 49 had the highest age-specific suicide rate at 25.5 deaths per 100,000 males, while the highest rate among women was for 50 to 54-year-olds, at 7.4 deaths per 100,000.

The ONS said the rate for 10- to 24-year-old females had also increased “significantly” since 2012 to its highest level, with 3.1 deaths per 100,000 females in that age group in 2019.

Provisional data, also published by the ONS, showed that there were 6.9 suicide deaths per 100,000 people in England between April and June this year – during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.

This was the equivalent of 845 registered deaths, the ONS added.

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But the ONS said the low number of suicide deaths registered during this period was probably due to inquests being delayed because of the Covid-19 outbreak.

It added: “The lower number of deaths registered caused by suicide in quarter two of 2020 should be interpreted with caution; this likely reflects delays to inquests because of the impact of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic on the coroner’s service.

“All deaths caused by suicide in England are investigated by coroners.

“Given the length of time it takes to hold an inquest (around five months), we do not currently know the total number of suicides that occurred during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.”