Samaritans’ response to new figures suggesting a fall in suicides in England and Wales

Responding to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) data on deaths in England and Wales in 2016, Samaritans CEO Ruth Sutherland said:

“Three times more people die by suicide than from road traffic accidents. So, while we welcome today’s figures indicating there has been around a 5% decrease in suicide between 2015 and 2016, the number of people taking their own lives is still far too high. Every death by suicide is a tragedy, leaving many more lives shattered as the effects are felt by family, friends, colleagues and everyone involved, across whole communities.

“We hope that these figures are the beginning of a longer-term downward trend. Suicide is complex and it’s vital that multi-agency working continues to reduce needless deaths. No single organisation can influence everyone. There are a range of local services who have contact with individuals who may be vulnerable and they all need to work together to co-ordinate their response to those at risk.

“Suicide is also an inequality issue. We believe there should be more recognition that areas of higher socioeconomic deprivation tend to have higher rates of suicide. Urgent action is needed to address the knock-on effect of inequality on suicide rates by directing additional mental health and wellbeing support to those with unstable employment, insecure housing, low incomes or living in areas of socio economic deprivation.”

For further comments, interviews and more information, please contact or 020 8394 8300 or 07943 809 162.


Notes to Editors

  • Whatever you’re going through, you can call Samaritans for free any time from any phone on 116 123 123 (this number if FREE to call and won’t show up on your phone bill), email, or visit to find details of your nearest branch. 
  • Find out more about Samaritans’ Local Action Saves Lives campaign at:
  • For more information, please see the Office of National Statistics’ statistical bulletin, Deaths Registered in England and Wales: 2016, containing death rates and cause of death data by sex and age, and death registrations by area of residence and single year of age.