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Suicide rates drop for men, but increase for women

The number of suicides in the UK have decreased slightly, except for a “notable” rise in female suicides, particularly those aged 45-59.

The male suicide rate decreased in 2014 from 17.8 to 16.8 deaths per 100,000 population. However, the female suicide rate increased from 4.8 to 5.2 deaths per 100,000 population, the Office for National Statistics revealed.

Vicki Nash, head of policy and campaigns for Mind, said: “More research is needed to understand both these trends and how to reverse them.”

According to this data both men and women aged 45-59 have the highest suicide rate in the UK. While women's rates have increased, the highest suicide rate in the UK in 2014 was still among men aged 45 to 59, at 23.9 deaths per 100,000, compared to 7.3 deaths per 100,000 population for women.

In Wales, the overall suicide rate fell “significantly”, Nash said. The country now has a lower suicide rate than anywhere in England except London.

Unfortunately, a third of suicides are among people known to NHS mental health services, which are under “enormous” pressure due to recent funding cuts, Nash added.

“No one in touch with services, asking for help, should reach the point of taking their own life. NHS mental health services are under enormous pressure at the moment as funding cuts over recent years have come at a time of rising demand. As a result, many people aren't getting the right support at the right time, so they become more unwell and may reach crisis point.”

“This is why suicide prevention measures need to be accompanied by improvements to NHS mental health services. We have heard positive announcements in recent weeks about increased funding for mental health services but without significant investment services won't be able to recover and start giving people the help they need, when they need it,” she added.