Men account for three-quarters of the suicides in the UK, new statistics have confirmed.
However, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), there were 3.6 per cent fewer suicides registered in 2016 than in 2015 – a small decrease of 223 deaths from 6,188.
Despite the overall improvements, some groups, such as divorced men and younger people, are particularly at risk.
People aged 40 to 44 years had the highest suicide rate – 15.3 per 100,000. For men in this age bracket, the rate was 24.1 per 100,000. The age group with the highest rate for females was 50 to 54 years.
Some parts of the country fared better than others. The English rate has fallen a significant amount, whilst the Welsh and Northern Ireland rates have both fallen slightly, and the Scottish rate has, in fact, risen fractionally.
Research by Samaritans has found that suicide in disadvantaged men in their middle years is also linked health and social issues.
Men from deprived backgrounds are up to 10 times more at risk of suicide than those living in the most advantaged conditions.
A spokesman from the charity told the BBC: “There is still a lot of work to be done because suicide still kills three times more people than road traffic accidents.
“Samaritans is working hard with partners, including the NHS, other charities and local authorities, to bring these figures down further.
“Suicide is not inevitable, it’s preventable and politicians, employers, health bodies and educators all have a role in identifying and supporting those most at risk.”
Last year, ONS statistics revealed the rate of male suicide among men over 30 was rising.
For men and women, deaths by suicide in 2015 rose slightly overall on the previous year’s figures, with 6,188 deaths by suicide recorded in 2015, compared to 6,122 deaths in 2014.
Emyr John, Health Analysis and Life Events at the ONS, argued this year’s numbers were good news. He said: “The fall in suicide rates from 2015 to 2016 is the largest decrease in 20 years.
“It fell for both males and females in the UK, although men still account for three-quarters of all suicides. It’s interesting to note that between 1981 and 2016, the male rate of suicide among the 75 and over age group has more than halved.”
If you are struggling to cope, please call Samaritans for free at any time, from any phone on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email [email protected], or visit the Samaritans website to find details of the nearest branch.