The amount of young people dying by suicide in Britain is at a record high, shocking figures show.
Suicide rates among females aged between 10 and 24 soared by 83 per cent from 2013 to 2018, the Official for National Statistics revealed.
Among boys in the same age group, the rates jumped by a quarter between 2017 and 2018.
The figures also mark the first time suicide rates across the board have risen in seven years, with charities describing the spike as concerning and calling for more action to tackle the rise.
A total of 6,507 suicides were registered last year, marking an increase of 11 per cent from 2017.
The amount of young people committing suicide in Britain is at a record high, shocking new figures show
There has been a significant increase among females aged 10 to 24-year-olds since 2012 and a fall in the suicide rates among females aged over 45 years since 1981
Tom Madders, campaigns director at charity YoungMinds said: ‘It’s concerning that there has been a reported rise in the number of young people dying by suicide.
‘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.
‘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.’
The figures show the highest rate of suicide by age in 2018 was among 45 to 49-year-olds, a rate of 27.1 deaths per 100,000 males.
They accounted for three-quarters of all the suicides in 2018 – 4,903, at a rate of 17 deaths per 100,000, according to report.
SUICIDE RATES JUMP FOR FIRST TIME IN SEVEN YEARS
The number of suicides has risen for the first time since 2013.
A total of 6,507 suicides were registered in the UK last year.
That’s 686 more than the previous year.
Three-quarters of the suicides (4,903) in 2018 were men, at a rate of 17.2 deaths per 100,000.
It marks a ‘significant increase from the rate in 2017’ when 4,382 male suicides were recorded.
Vicki Nash, head of policy and campaigns at charity Mind, said the figures highlighted that there was ‘no room for complacency when it comes to promoting good mental health and preventing suicides’.
She said: ‘We know that a significant proportion of people who take their own lives have asked for support for their mental health within the last 12 months, which means that services are failing people when they need help the most.
‘With more and more people coming forward, it’s absolutely crucial that services are equipped to meet the demand, and this cannot be lost among the current political turmoil.
‘After years of underfunding and increased demand, we were encouraged by the focus on improving mental health services in the NHS Long Term Plan as well as funding earmarked for mental health.
‘But we need to see meaningful change for people trying to access support now.’
Samaritans chief executive Ruth Sutherland added: ‘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.
‘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.’
The 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.
This was significantly higher than London, the area with the lowest suicide rate for males (four out of 100,000 deaths).
Compared with the previous year, there were significant increases in suicide rates among 10 to 24-year-old boys and men aged 75 years and over
THE SIGNS YOUR CHILD MAY BE DEPRESSED AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT
Signs of depression in children can include:
- Prolonged sadness
- Lack of interest in things they used to enjoy
- Fatigue and exhaustion
- Insomnia or sleeping too much
- Poor concentration
- Lack of confidence
- Eating too much or too little
- Inability to relax
- Feeling guilty or worthless
- Numb to emotions
- Thoughts about suicide or self harming
- Self harming
Some also have physical symptoms, like headache or abdominal pain.
Older children may misuse alcohol or drugs.
Depression in children can occur due to family issues, bullying, other mental-health problems, or physical, emotional or sexual abuse.
It can be triggered by one event, such as a bereavement, or a build-up of things.
If you suspect your child is depressed, try to talk to them about how they are feeling.
Let them know you are concerned and you are there if they need you.
If they will not talk to you, encourage them to reach out to another relative, teacher or family friend.
If this does not help, contact your GP, who may refer your child to a specialist mental-health service.
Scotland had the highest suicide rate per 100,000 people, followed by Wales and England.
ONS said that while the ‘exact reasons’ for the rise are unknown, there have been changes made in the last year to the way coroners record such deaths.
In July 2018 the standard of proof used by coroners to determine whether a death was a suicide was lowered.
Previously, a criminal standard was applied to suicides. It meant the cause of death had to be suicide ‘beyond all reasonable doubt’ to be counted.
But now a civil standard is applied, which ONS says may be a contributing factor in the spike.
Nick Stripe, from the 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.
‘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.’
Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: ‘Every suicide is a tragedy and it is worrying that we have seen some significant increases, particularly in the male suicide rate and among under-25s generally.
‘Suicide prevention is a public health priority for local government and every council has a suicide prevention plan in place.
‘Councils are already working closely with schools, railway operators, businesses, hospitals and the police to prevent suicide and help those affected by it.
‘It is important that tomorrow’s Spending Round provides much-needed investment in council services, including public health.
‘Government funding announced earlier this year to help further strengthen local action to reduce and prevent suicide is a clear endorsement of councils’ locally-driven approach and a recognition that by working together and supporting one another, we can reduce rates of suicide and save lives.’
It comes after MailOnline reported last month that mentally ill children in England are being forced to travel hundreds of miles for NHS treatment.
More than 1,200 under 18s were admitted to inpatient units outside of their local area in 2017/18 because of a lack of beds.
One child even had to travel 339 miles (545km) for care – seven miles (11km) short of the distance between Brighton and Newcastle.
This follows an NHS England pledge in 2017 to end out-of-area mental health placements.
Psychiatrists have warned being sent away from home can slow a patient’s recovery, with many already being ‘distressed’ and at risk of suicide or self harm.
The furthest distance one child was forced to travel in the first six months of 2018/19 was 333.8 miles. The year before, the furthest recorded distance was 285 miles (458km).
WHAT DOES THE NHS LONG TERM PLAN SET OUT FOR MENTAL HEALTH AMONG CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE?
As part of NHS England’s Long Term Plan, the Government has pledged to invest at least an extra £2.3bn ($2.8bn) a year on mental health care.
It will particularly increase funding for children and adolescents.
By 2023/24, at least an additional 345,000 25 year olds should have access to mental-health support on the NHS.
The Plan also aims to expand crisis services to improve patient care and reduce pressure on A&E departments.
Evaluations showed 83 per cent of children who were referred to crisis and liaison services were seen within four hours.
Over the next five years, the NHS will also fund mental-health support teams in schools and colleges.
These will be rolled out to a quarter of the country by 2023.