Suicide: facts and figures

We're the only organisation to collate suicide statistics for the UK, England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and ROI, which we publish in our annual Suicide Statistics Report. 

Download the 2017 Suicide Statistics Report here, or read the key findings below.

Suicide in the UK and ROI

In order to understand and prevent suicide, it is very important that suicide data is as accurate and as comprehensive as possible. Samaritans' Suicide Statistics Report 2017 provides details of the national suicide rates for the United Kingdom (UK) and Republic of Ireland (ROI). There is also additional information about how to understand and interpret suicide statistics, because it’s not always as straight forward as looking at the actual numbers."

Suicide is complex. It usually occurs gradually, progressing from suicidal thoughts, to planning, to attempting suicide and finally dying by suicide.

Source: International Association for Suicide Prevention

Key trends from the Samaritans Suicide Statistics Report 2017

  • In 2015 there were 6,639 suicides in the UK and Republic of Ireland.
  • 6,188 suicides were registered in the UK and 451 in the Republic of Ireland.
  • The highest suicide rate in the UK was for men aged 40–44.
  • The highest suicide rate in the Republic of Ireland was for men aged 25–34 (with an almost identical rate for men aged 45–54).
  • In England and the UK, female suicide rates are at their highest in a decade. Rates have increased in the UK (by 3.8%), England (by 2%), Wales (61.8%) and Northern Ireland (18.5%) since 2014 – however increases in Wales and Northern Ireland may be explained by inconsistencies in the processes for recording suicides in these countries.
  • Female suicide rates have decreased in Scotland (by 1.4%) and the Republic of Ireland (by 13.1%) since 2014.
  • Male rates remain consistently higher than female suicide rates across the UK and Republic of Ireland – most notably 5 times higher in Republic of Ireland and around 3 times in the UK.

How Samaritans' Suicide Statistics Report is created

To produce the report, we collate the figures from all of the national statistical agencies, who we work closely with to help us understand and compare the rates between the nations.

The report also gives details about how the recording, definitions and calculations of rates differ within the UK and ROI. It does not provide explanations for the trends in suicide rates within or between nations. It also provides important information about how to appropriately use suicide statistics and what some of the challenges with them are.

Download the report here, read the key findings above.

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