LONDON     -   The rate of suicides in Britain has risen sharply to its highest level since 2002, with men accounting for three-quarters of the number of people who took their own lives last year, official figures show. A total of 6,507 suicides were registered by coroners in the UK – 11.2 per 100,000 people – in 2018, up 11.8% on the previous year, according to the Office for National Statistics. Particular concerns were raised over an increase in the rates of young people aged from 10 to 24 killing themselves, with the overall rate for that age group reaching a 19-year high and the rate for young females reaching an all-time high. Ruth Sutherland, the chief executive of Samaritans, said: “It is extremely worrying that, for the first time in five years, the suicide rate in the UK has increased, with 686 more deaths than in 2017. “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.”

According to statisticians, the rise in suicides in 2018 was largely driven by an increase among men, who took their own lives at a rate of 17.2 per 100,000, compared with 15.5 in 2017.