Suicide statistics show mental health services need overhauling

LGA says ONS figures on suicide show why focus should be on early intervention

Published on 5th September 2018

The Local Government Association has warned that the latest suicide statistics show why a "root and branch overhaul of mental health services" is required.

In 2017 there were 5,821 suicides registered in the UK, a rate of 10.1 deaths per 100,000 population.

While the UK male suicide rate of 15.5 deaths per 100,000 was the lowest since statistics have been collected, males accounted for three-quarters of suicides registered in 2017 - 4,382 deaths - which has been the case since the mid-1990s.

The UK rate for females was 4.9 deaths per 100,000 which remains consistent with the rates seen in the last 10 years.

The highest age-specific suicide rate was 24.8 deaths per 100,000 among males aged 45 to 49 years; for females, the age group with the highest rate was 50 to 54 years, at 6.8 deaths per 100,000.

Scotland had the highest suicide rate in Great Britain with 13.9 deaths per 100,000 persons, and England the lowest with 9.2 deaths per 100,000.

Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: "Suicide prevention is a high priority for councils, which already provide a range of vital services that support the health and mental wellbeing of our communities.

"However we need a root and branch overhaul of mental health services, which focuses on prevention and early intervention, particularly for children and young people.

"It is also crucial that we have the right investment in mental health and suicide prevention services. Councils support the £1 billion being invested in the NHS by 2020 to address mental health, but there needs to be a similar long term commitment to invest in local government to help tackle mental illness and ensure suicide rates are further driven down and lives saved.

“Councils have in place community-based suicide prevention plans which are developed with other public and private organisations, such as schools, railway operators, supermarkets, hospitals and police stations.

“Suicide is preventable, but it needs to be everybody’s business to work together to tackle this tragic loss of life," he added.

Suicides in the UK: 2017 registrations

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