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. 

View the latest summary of our 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 2018 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

Summary of the key trends contained in this report.

  • In 2017 there were 6,213 suicides in the UK and Republic of Ireland.

  • 5,821 suicides were registered in the UK and 392 occurred in the Republic of Ireland.

  • In the UK men remain three times as likely to take their own lives than women, and in the Republic of Ireland four times more likely.

  • The highest suicide rate in the UK was for men aged 45-49.

  • 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).

  • There has been a significant decrease in male suicide in the UK, and the male suicide rate is the lowest in over 30 years.

  • The suicide rate in Scotland decreased between 2016 and 2017 – this appears to be driven by a decrease in the female suicide rate.

  • Suicide in young men in Scotland increased for the third consecutive year in 2017.

  • The suicide rate in Northern Ireland has remained relatively stable between 2016 and 2017. There was an increase in the male suicide rate and decrease in the female rate.
  • Suicide rates for men and women, are higher in Northern Ireland than other UK nations – however rates are not necessarily directly comparable.
  • Suicide has also continued to fall in both males and females in the Republic of Ireland. 

  • Rates in the Republic of Ireland have fluctuated more than in the UK in recent years, but it is currently at its lowest since 1989.

Understanding suicide statistics

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.

View the findings here, read the key findings above.

Why do we look at suicide statistics?

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