JNN 25 Mar 2013 London : Suicide rates among middle-aged men have risen to their highest level for a generation in one of the most stark illustrations yet of the impact of recession on families in Britain.
New figures from the Office for National Statistics show that the overall number of people taking their own lives jumped by eight per cent in a single year between 2010 and 2011.
A charity in Britain has rated ‘suicide’ as the biggest killer of young men across the UK, with financial problems playing a key role in people’s depression.
The charity, the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), singled out 2011 as the year with significant rise in suicide rate, Overall 6,045 people were recorded as having taken their own life in 2011, more than a quarter of whom were men aged 35 to 55.
Suicides rose among both men and women but the problem was most acute among men in their early 40s, where the rate rose to its highest level in almost two decades.
The latest figures showed three young males take their own life on average every day across the country – and the recession is thought to be playing a part in many of the deaths.
According to the figures the highest rate was in the male age bracket 30-44.
The ONS described the overall rise in 2011 as statistically “significant”, with the rate among men reaching to 18.2 per 100,000 people – its highest level for a decade – and 5.6 per 100,000 among women, the highest for six years.
“Suicide in this group accounted for more deaths than road accidents, murder and HIV/AIDS combined”, the charity said.
“The reasons for suicide are complex and often very individual”, said Jane Powell from the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM).
“The economic climate and social factors such as insecurities around work and housing, social isolation and substance misuse are felt particularly strongly in this group”, she added.
“It’s hugely important that we raise awareness of male suicide. This is a huge problem now in the UK and the time has come to start talking about it”, Powell stressed.
It is believed that hundreds of male suicides could be prevented if men felt able to ask for help when they desperately need it.
According to CALM, men experience a ‘cultural barrier’ when it comes to seeking professional help, restricted by modern society which expects them to be immune to a nervous breakdown.
Research by the University of Liverpool shows the recession in the UK has caused about 1,000 additional suicides in England – 846 among men and 155 among women. The analysis showed that increases in male unemployment were associated with about two-fifths of the rises in suicides among men.
Norman Lamb, the care services minister, said: “The rise in the numbers of people committing suicide causes very real concern. We need to tackle this head on … we also need to make sure information about treatment and support is available to those who need them, including those who are suffering from bereavement following a suicide.
“Giving greater priority to mental health services, and to improving access, are also critical.”