Suicide rate in England and Wales reaches highest level for 14 years – ONS

The suicide rate in England and Wales rose significantly between 2016 and 2018 to reach its highest level for more than a decade, figures show.

There were 10.6 suicides per 100,000 people in 2018 – the highest rate in 14 years, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

This is up from 9.7 suicides per 100,000 people in 2016.

In England between 2016-18, the male suicide rate increased by 8.2%, to 15.9 deaths per 100,000 males.

The female rate also increased – to 5.0 deaths per 100,000 females – but the rise was not statistically significant.

In Wales, the male suicide rate has not significantly changed in recent years, with 19.5 deaths per 100,000 males in 2018.

The suicide rate for women increased between 2016-18 from 4.0 to 6.9 deaths per 100,000 females – a 72.5% rise.

The ONS said changes in rates in Wales were more volatile due to a smaller number of suicides.

The analysis looks at deaths on the date they occurred rather than when they were registered, to understand the exact timing and some of the factors linked to the recent changes.

In recent years the increases have been most pronounced among young people aged 10-24 and men aged 45-64.

The change in rates of suicide among young people is mirrored by increasing rates of hospital admissions as a result of self-harm in this age group.

The ONS said there is some evidence of seasonal variation in rates of suicide in England between 2016-18.

Males saw higher rates in April to June and females saw higher rates during the first half of the year.

The male suicide rate increased significantly in cities and towns, while rates of suicide were markedly higher in the most than the least deprived local areas.

The ONS said a change to the evidence threshold used by coroners to determine whether a death was suicide is unlikely to explain why suicide rates started to rise in 2017.

The figures also show:

– The rate among boys and young men increased by 27.9% from 6.1 deaths per 100,000 males in 2009 to 7.8 deaths per 100,000 in 2018.

– The rate for girls and young women was 1.7 deaths per 100,000 females in 2011, rising to 2.9 deaths per 100,000 females in 2018.

– For men aged 45 to 64 years, the rate of suicide rose from 16.7 deaths per 100,000 in 2006 to 21.2 deaths per 100,000 in 2018.

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