Press release: Samaritans’ comment on the 2010 UK suicide figures published today by the Office for National Statistics

Stephen Platt, Samaritans’ Trustee and Professor of Health Policy Research at the University of Edinburgh, said:

The latest UK suicide figures show that men remain a high-risk group, being three times more likely to take their own lives than women.

It would appear that national strategies and services are failing to reach and engage men, which is why Samaritans launched a campaign in late 2010 to target working class men who are the most at risk.

For the second phase of the campaign, Samaritans is working with social scientists to enhance our understanding of the causes of increased suicide risk in this group, so we can find ways to reach them and provide the right support.

”The UK suicide rate in 2010 has changed little compared to the previous year, and generally, over the past decade there has been a welcome downward trend.

However, there is considerable research evidence that economic recession is linked to higher suicide rates.

During the last recession in 2008, there was a sharp rise in suicide which bucked the overall downward trend.

As the UK economy remains in danger of slipping back into recession, we therefore all need to remain vigilant for the signs of distress and suicidal intent.

“Unemployment, job fears and financial worries lead to anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and feelings of hopelessness, which in turn increase the likelihood that someone will think that their life isn’t worth living.

“A recent survey of Samaritans’ helpline showed that calls about financial issues have doubled in the last three years.

Now, one in every five calls made to Samaritans is about job concerns, housing problems, debt and other financial worries.”

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For more information and interviews, please contact Elspeth McAusland in Samaritans’ press office on 0208 394 8348 or email press@samaritans.org.

Notes to editors:

Please find a link to the latest ONS statistics here: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171778_254113.pdf

About Samaritans:

More information about Samaritans campaign targeting men

Our volunteers are here 24/7 to offer confidential, non-judgemental support to anyone feeling down, unhappy, anxious or stressed, by phone: 08457 90 90 90 (UK) or 1850 60 90 90 (ROI); email: jo@samaritans.org; or face-to-face: visit http://www.samaritans.org/ for details of your local branch.