Samaritans warns suicide rates is an 'urgent public health issue' as new figures reveal number of Northumberland deaths

The national rise in deaths due to suicide has led to a warning more must be done to help those in distress.

Friday, 20th September 2019, 10:27 am
The Samaritans has said there must be a plan to help those in need as the ONS released the latest suicide figures.
The Samaritans has said there must be a plan to help those in need as the ONS released the latest suicide figures.

The Samaritans has said there is an urgent public health issue as it responds to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures, which showed across the UK there was an increase of hundreds last year than in 2017.

However in Northumberland during 2018, the ONS found 15 people had died due to suicide, a fall from 18 in the same as the 12 months previously.

Across the North East, the figures stood at 287 in 2018, following on from 248 in 2017.

The Samaritans has highlighted a rise in the number of deaths in young people in recent years, while middle-aged men remain the group greatest at risk overall.

It said while it has been known for years suicide is a gender and inequality issue there is still no plan across the Government to reach those in need.

The charity’s chief executive officer 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.

“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.”

Nick Stripe, head of health analysis and life events at 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.

“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.”