SUICIDE rates in young people have reached record levels, shocking new figures out today have revealed.
Figures from the Official for National Statistics show that suicides in females aged 10 to 24 have soared by 83 per cent in six years.
The figures also show that in 2018, rates among boys in the same age group were up 25 per cent from the previous year.
But men remain at the highest risk – particularly those aged from 45 to 49 – and continue to account for three quarters of all suicides in 2018.
Last year The Sun launched the You’re Not Alone campaign, to remind those in the grips of mental illness that there is hope and to encourage people to watch out for the warning signs a loved one could be in trouble.
Big life events, like a death in the family, divorce and redundancy can leave people feeling vulnerable and trigger mental health issues.
The latest figures show that in England, suicide among men is up 14 per cent with significant increases in the North East and Yorkshire and the Humber.
Last year, there were 6,507 suicides registered in the UK in total – an increase of 11 per cent from 2017.
Following several years of decline, the latest UK suicide rate has now increased to the level seen when it previously peaked in 2013.
Scotland had the highest suicide rate per 100,000 people, followed by Wales and England.
The ONS said that the “exact reasons” for the rise are unknown but changes made in the last year to the way coroners record such deaths may be a factor.
In July 2018 the standard of proof used by coroners to determine whether a death was a suicide was lowered.
The key signs your loved one is at risk of suicide
There are several warning signs that a person is at risk of suicide. But it’s vital to know that they won’t always be obvious.
While some people are quite visibly in pain and become withdrawn and depressed, others may continue their life as normal pretending everything is fine.
Look out for subtle personality changes in friends and family, especially if you know they have been going through a tough time, Lorna told The Sun Online.
These are the key signs to watch out for:
- A change in routine, such as sleeping or eating less than normal
- Struggling to sleep, lacking energy or appearing particularly tired
- Drinking, smoking or using drugs more than usual
- Finding it hard to cope with everyday things
- Not wanting to do things they usually enjoy
- Becoming withdrawn from friends and family – not wanting to talk or be with people
- Appearing more tearful
- Appearing restless, agitated, nervous, irritable
- Putting themselves down in a serious or jokey way, for example ‘Oh, no one loves me’, or ‘I’m a waste of space’
- Losing interest in their appearance, not liking or taking care of themselves or feeling they don’t matter
Nick Stripe, head of health analysis and life events at ONS, said: “We saw a significant increase in the rate of deaths registered as suicide last year which has changed a trend of continuous decline since 2013.
“While the exact reasons for this are unknown, the latest data show that this was largely driven by an increase among men who have continued to be most at risk of dying by suicide.
“In recent years, there have also been increases in the rate among young adults, with females under 25 reaching the highest rate on record for their age group.
“Looking at the overall trend since the early 80s, we are still witnessing a gradual decline in the rate of suicide for the population as a whole.
“We will continue to monitor the recent increase, to help inform decision makers and others that are working to protect vulnerable people at risk.”
Urgent health issue
Campaigners have warned that the rise in suicide rates is an “urgent public health issue”.
Samaritans boss Ruth Sutherland said: “Every single one of these deaths is a tragedy that devastates families, friends and communities.
“Whilst the overall rise has only been seen this year, and we hope it is not the start of a longer-term trend, it’s crucial to have a better understanding of why there has been such an increase.
Suicide is not inevitable, it is preventable and encouraging steps have been made but we need to look at suicide as a serious public health issue
“We know that suicide is not inevitable, it is preventable and encouraging steps have been made to prevent suicide, but we need to look at suicide as a serious public health issue.”
She added that the rising rate of suicide among young people is a “particular concern” and more needs to be done to ensure this generation doesn’t carry a higher risk of suicide throughout their lives.
“A major concern for Samaritans is the increase in self-harm among young people over the last 15 years, particularly in young women,” she said.
YOU’RE NOT ALONE
EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.
It doesn’t discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.
It’s the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.
And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.
Yet it’s rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
That is why The Sun launched the You’re Not Alone campaign.
The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.
Let’s all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You’re Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
“Self-harm is a strong risk factor for future suicide among young people.
“Research is urgently needed to understand this increase in self-harm so that effective support services and preventive measures can be developed.
“Self-harm must also be prioritised by governments and plans should equip young people with effective, healthy coping mechanisms and promote help-seeking by reducing stigma around self-harm.”
Children and young people’s mental health charity YoungMinds says an “urgent” new government strategy is needed.
Tom Madders, campaigns director at the charity, said: “We urgently need a new government strategy which looks at the factors that are fuelling the crisis in young people’s mental health and which ensures that anyone who’s struggling to cope can get early support.”
He added: “The reasons why young people feel suicidal are often complex, but we know that traumatic experiences at a young age – like bereavement, bullying or abuse – can have a huge impact on mental health.
“School pressure, concerns about how you look and difficult relationships with family or friends can also have a significant effect.
“We’re seeing some much-needed investment in NHS mental health services – but we need much more action to ensure young people can get early help, long before they reach crisis point.”
If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, please call the Samaritans (free) on 116 123