Suicide is a significant public health and social inequality issue, with more than 6,000 people across the UK and Republic of Ireland taking their own lives each year.
Suicides are preventable with timely, evidence-based interventions. These facts and figures explain more of the context surrounding suicidal behaviour.
- Suicide is a significant public health and social inequality issue, with more than 6,000 people across the UK and Republic of Ireland taking their own lives each year. Tens of thousands more attempt suicide. Suicides are preventable with timely, evidence-based interventions.
- In response to the strong evidence-base indicating that inappropriate reporting of suicide can lead to further deaths, many countries have incorporated responsible media reporting into national suicide prevention strategies.
- Suicide is more common among some groups than others. For example, it is more likely among men than women, and in particular men in their 40s and 50s from a lower socio-economic group.
- Suicide is complex and most of the time there isn’t one event or factor that leads someone to take their own life. It is usually a combination of lots of different factors interacting with each other to increase risk. A combination of individual, community, and societal factors contribute to the risk of suicide.
- More than 1 in 20 people make a suicide attempt at some point in their lives. Their choice of method is the most important determinant of whether they live or die. While previous suicide attempts is a risk factor for dying by suicide at a later point, research shows that only a small proportion of those who attempt suicide and survive will go on to die by suicide at a later date.
- Self-harm is a sign of serious emotional distress and, while most people who self-harm will not go on to take their own life, it is a risk factor for future suicide.
- A suicide cluster is when a greater number of suicides than expected occur in a location or community. Research has found links between the type (sensationalist) and volume of coverage of suicides by young people, and subsequent suicide clusters and suicides by other young people.
- Some people considering suicide may hint at or even disclose to friends or relatives that they intend to take their own lives. Other people who are feeling suicidal might not mention it at all or give any indication of their intention. There is no evidence to suggest that asking someone if they are OK will make them feel worse. Talking can help.
- Only a third of people who die by suicide have been in contact with specialist mental health services in the year before their death.
Read our latest suicide statistics report here
Our report on the effects that deprivation, debt and inequality can have on suicide can be read here
Our most recent report on men and suicide, 'Out of Sight, out of mind: why less well-off middle aged men are more at risk of suicide' can be read here