Statistics reveal Yorkshire has highest rate of suicides in country

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Yorkshire and the humber has the highest rate of suicides in England and Wales, figures released by the Office for National Statistics have revealed.

A report was published by the ONS on September 1 into registered deaths in England and Wales in 2019.

In 2019, there were 5,691 suicides registered in England and Wales.

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World Suicide Prevention Day: Here's who you can contact if you are struggling
Statistics released by the Office for National Statistics have revealed that Yorkshire has the highest rate of male suicides in England and Wales.Statistics released by the Office for National Statistics have revealed that Yorkshire has the highest rate of male suicides in England and Wales.
Statistics released by the Office for National Statistics have revealed that Yorkshire has the highest rate of male suicides in England and Wales.

According to the Office of National Statistics, around three-quarters of registered deaths in 2019 were among men (4,303 deaths) - which follows a consistent trend back to the mid-1990s.

The England and Wales male suicide rate of 16.9 deaths per 100,000 is the highest since 2000.

Among men, the area with the highest rate in 2019 was Yorkshire and The Humber (20.6 per 100,000); this rate was significantly higher than London, the North West, West Midlands and the South East.

Both Yorkshire and The Humber and the South West had a statistically significantly higher rate of male suicide in 2019 compared with the overall male England rate (16.7 per 100,000).

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Abbey RobbAbbey Robb
Abbey Robb

For females, the highest rate in 2019 was also seen in Yorkshire and The Humber (7.3 per 100,000); this rate was statistically significantly higher than the North East, the area with the lowest rate (4.1 per 100,000), and the overall female England rate (5.2 per 100,000).

September 10 marks World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) - which provides the opportunity for people, across the globe, to raise awareness of suicide and suicide prevention.Every year, suicide is among the top 20 leading causes of death globally for people of all ages.

It is responsible for over 800,000 deaths, which equates to one suicide every 40 seconds.

For each suicide approximately 135 people suffer intense grief or are otherwise affected, according to the International Association for Suicide Prevention.

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Integrative Therapist Abbey Robb has spoken to the Yorkshire Evening Post to help raise awareness of the day.

She said if people are 'connected to their community' through mental health groups including Andy's Man Club, they are better able to weather the 'storms of life'.

Ms Robb said: "There are a variety of risk factors which put people at greater risk of suicidal thoughts and impulses.

"These risk factors include mental health, drug and alcohol issues, employment or education, family and community and cultural identity.

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"When people are connected to their community, having strong bonds to people and relationships where they can speak freely about what’s on their mind, they are better able to weather the storms of life.

"If people feel like they’re having to maintain a façade that they have no problems and that everything is fine, it makes difficult experiences even more difficult."

Ms Robb said that culturally, people have a ‘stiff upper lip’ policy towards discussing our negative emotions and vulnerabilities, men especially.

She added: "The culture of silence around mental health struggles and suicidal ideation means that people aren’t able to access support that they desperately need.

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"Sometimes when people do try and open up about depressive or suicidal thoughts they’re met with platitudes or told that other people have it worse.

"These responses often signal the discomfort that the listener has with the feelings, rather than indicating that they’re not interested, but for the person struggling with thoughts may feel shut down, not listened to, or shamed by the comparisons.

"When we don’t discuss our problems and our thoughts they not only magnify in our heads, but we lose our sense of being loved, connected with, and supported by those around us."

Ms Robb highlighted the great work of Andy's Man Club in Leeds as a method of being able to speak out.

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Andy’s Man Club is a mental health group aimed to ‘get men talking’.

It has helped save the lives of more than 800 men across the country since it was set up.

The club was formed in early 2016 by Halifax rugby league player Luke Ambler after his brother-in-law took his own life.

Since then, the group has expanded across the country and now has hundreds of men who attend every week.

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Ms Robb said: "Andy’s Man Club (and other social initiatives) have been created so that people have spaces in which they can be open and honest about their feelings.

"The goal of these spaces is to take the stigma out of admitting that you’re struggling and to provide support.

"Simply by providing a listening ear and sitting with someone while they are talking, people build community and help others realise that they’re not alone.

"For many, just knowing that there’s somewhere they can go and speak honestly about what’s on their mind is enough to help them move through a difficult situation.

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"For others, the picture is more complex and they can be signposted to various services that will support them.

"This year has been particularly tough for many people because so many areas of our lives have been thrown into disarray.

"It’s more important than ever that we look to our communities and build strong and supportive networks to help each other manage the events that are unfolding."

The Samaritans can be contacted free at any time of day or night, call 116123 or email [email protected], or click here to visit the website.

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Thank you

Laura Collins

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