UK male suicides at record low
The UK’s male suicide rate is at its lowest level on record, official figures show.
A total of 5,821 suicides were registered last year, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said, down from 5,965 in 2016.
Some 4,382 were male suicides, at a rate of 15.5 deaths per 100,000 men.
The rate is the lowest since when the data was first recorded in 1981, the ONS said.
Samaritans said efforts to reduce stigma around men’s mental health may have contributed to the fall, but warned that males are still three times more likely to die from suicide than females.
Across the UK, the suicide rate in 2017 was 10.1 deaths per 100,000 people, one of the lowest observed on record, the ONS said.
Some 1,439 female suicides were recorded and made up around 25% of the total in the UK, compared to 75% who were male.
Ruth Sutherland, Samaritans chief executive, said: “It’s encouraging to see the reduction in male suicide.
“We believe that the focus of suicide prevention in recent years to tackle the higher rates in men has contributed to this.
“Added to this, reducing stigma around men’s mental health and encouraging men to open up and ask for help when they are struggling has been beneficial.
“But one death by suicide is still one too many.
“Suicide is complex and it’s a problem of inequality. It affects the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people in society, male and female, disproportionately.
“So, this is an urgent public health issue, not simply a health or mental health one.”
The highest UK suicide rate was among men aged 45 to 49 years old, at 24.8 deaths per 100,000 last year.
The highest rate in women was among those aged 50 to 54 years old, at 6.8 deaths per 100,000.
Scotland had the highest suicide rate in Great Britain, with 13.9 deaths per 100,000 people, while England had the lowest at 9.2 per 100,000.
The figures cover all deaths from intentional self-harm for people over the age of 10 and deaths where the intent was undetermined for those aged over 15 years old.