Male suicides in Wales rise by 23 per cent

Male suicides in Wales rose by 23 per cent between 2012 and 2013, figures released today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show.

The rate for males is at its highest since 1981 (26.1 per 100,000). The male suicide rate for Wales has been significantly higher than the rate in England since 2010.

Suicide in the UK nationally rose by four per cent in 2013.

Sarah Stone, Samaritans Director in Wales said: “We know good collaboration between a whole range of agencies is vital to reduce suicide. The causes of suicide are complex, and we need to encourage people to seek help before they reach a crisis point. We know we particularly need to target men in their middle years. This group is falling through gaps in the system.

“The excessive risk of suicide in men in mid-life continues to be a concern. The group in the UK with the highest rate of 25.1 per 100,000 is men aged 45-59. Suicide remains the leading cause of death in England and Wales for men aged 20-34, and men aged 35-49.

“Across the board we need to increase awareness of the help available. Better access to talking therapy for people with mental health issues is also needed. The following measures are also crucial:

  • Reducing access to the means of suicide
  • Raising awareness of support available
  • Better crisis support
  • Collecting and using information about suicide locally

“Action to reduce suicide will also support work to increase emotional health and well-being and resilience in communities – they need to be in alignment,” Sarah said.

“We welcome the launch of the consultation on Talk to Me 2, the new suicide and self-harm strategy and action plan for Wales, it shows how important it is to have a cross organisational approach to suicide prevention.”

Ann John, clinical Associate Professor at Swansea University, who chairs the Welsh Government National Advisory Group on Suicide Prevention, said: “Suicide is the result of many different risk factors interacting in complex ways. Because of this, suicide prevention requires the action of multiple organisations across sectors - no single organisation can tackle these factors alone. This is why national suicide prevention strategies are a key component in reducing suicide. They establish the strategic framework needed for a range of interventions to be brought in nationally, regionally and locally in a joined-up way.

“As part of the planning around Talk to Me 2, we aim to target middle aged men, because our data shows suicide rates in this group are high compared to some other groups, which has been highlighted by Samaritans’ national campaign. We will also support vulnerable young people, especially those who are not in education, training or employment, the over-75s, those in prison or in custody suites and those in psychiatric settings.”

Samaritans answered 5.23m calls for help in 2013, our highest number ever. Our volunteers are there round the clock, every day of the year, to support people when they are struggling. We have 201 branches and 21,200 volunteers in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. To contact Samaritans,  call 08457 90 90 90, email jo@samaritans.org or find the details for your local branch at www.samaritans.org.

Find out more about Samaritans media guidelines for reporting suicide.

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Notes to editors:

  • Guidelines issued relating to narrative verdicts, changes in definitions and the introduction of a Chief Coroner and new systems mean that comparisons between rates across the years 2011 to current should be interpreted with caution.
  • NB: Methods of suicide have been highlighted by the ONS statisticians. Samaritans’ media guidelines make it clear that these should be publicised as little as possible, given the risks of imitational suicide.
  • For more information please contact the press office on 020 8394 8300 (out of hours) 079 4380 9162) or email press@samaritans.org
  • Samaritans is available round the clock, every single day of the year. We provide a safe place for anyone struggling to cope, whoever they are, however they feel, whatever life has done to them. Please call 08457 90 90 90 (UK) 1850 60 90 90 (ROI), email jo@samaritans.org, or visit www.samaritans.org to find details of the nearest branch.