Suicide rate hits record high across North Yorkshire, new Public Health England data shows
The number of people losing their lives to suicide in North Yorkshire has reached a record high, new figures reveal.
A jump in the national suicide rate has sparked concern among mental health charities, who warn the coronavirus crisis could exacerbate existing risk factors behind the cause of death.
The latest statistics come ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day, held annually on September 10, which sees organisations come together globally to raise awareness.
Public Health England data shows there were 195 cases of suicide in the area between 2017 and 2019, the latest period for which data is available.
It means the area’s suicide rate was around 12.3 per 100,000 population – the highest since records began, and up from 11.4 between 2016 and 2018. Men accounted for nearly three-quarters of suicide deaths registered.
Men aged 45 to 49 had the highest suicide rate, at 25.5 deaths per 100,000 males.
Samaritans said this is a “worrying trend that has persisted for decades”, while the ONS added higher rates of suicide among middle-aged men might be due to economic hardship, isolation and alcoholism, with men in this category also less likely to seek help.
Samaritans chief executive Ruth Sutherland said callers to its services are now generally more anxious and distressed than before the coronavirus pandemic.
She added: “It is not inevitable that suicide rates will go up as a result of coronavirus, but we know that the pandemic is impacting on lots of people’s lives and exacerbating some known risk factors.”
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