Suicide and Prevention

Making Suicide Prevention Everyone’s Business

What is Suicide?

Suicide is when a person inflicts harm upon themselves with the intent to die. 

Why does someone commit Suicide?

There are several reasons why a person would want to commit suicide. Some of them can include:
-    Suffering from mental health illness
-    Anxiety and Depressive disorders
-    Loss (this can be loss of a loved one, a job, or social acceptance)
-    Financial difficulties
-    Incarceration (imprisonment)
-    Physical illness
-    Domestic violence victims

Is Suicide common?

Suicide is the leading cause of deaths in England for adults below the age of 50. According to the Office for National Statistics, there were 5642 suicides in men and women in 2022. That is 10.7 deaths per 100,000 people. The highest rates registered in 2022 were seen among people aged 50-54 years old. 

Who is at higher risk of suicide?

Those struggling with financial difficulty are also at risk and are prioritised for suicide prevention awareness. The UK government have a new initiative to support lower income families and smaller businesses by introducing the £37 billion package for support with cost of living. This will reduce stress for those in need of support and potentially save a life. Women who have given birth have a high rate of suicides within the first year after giving birth. In 2020, the rate tripled since 2019 and had lasting, devastating impacts on the families and development of the young children left behind. Since 2019 the Government has rolled out programmes for mothers expecting to get support for their mental health, parent – infant relationship advice, and general support. This also acts as an early intervention for those who are unhappy so it can be spotted earlier, and suicide can be prevented. Domestic violence victims are 2 to 3 times more likely to commit suicide from being in an intimate partner violent relationship. It was founded that 30% of suicides from 2019 to 2021 were due to domestic abuse violence. Identifying which households domestic abuse is happening, including the children and other family members who are witnesses to the abuse, helps to prevent suicides caused by that and relating to that. A tackling domestic abuse plan was created by the Home Office in March 2022 to try and tackle the issue of domestic violence and provide support to the victims, thereby reducing the chances of suicide caused by domestic violence. Statistics say men are 3 times more likely to commit suicide than women. Primarily men who are experiencing financial difficulties such as debt or unemployment have been linked to the higher suicide rates in this category. The rate increased after the 2008 recession where families were made redundant. LGBTQ+ individuals are 4 times more likely to attempt to end their life. LGBTQ+ females are more likely to end their life than LGBTQ+ males. Statistics show LGBTQ+ youths who disclose their sexual orientation, ‘coming out’ as it is more commonly known, earlier on, are also at a higher risk of attempted suicide. Studies also show that 60% of suicides occur within 5 years of the individual identifying themselves as LGBTQ+.
For people with autism, suicide is the leading reason for premature end of life. 66% of people have considered ending their own life, and 35% actually do. 

How can I spot the warning signs pointing towards a person being suicidal?

Signs to keep an eye out in people can include:
-    Those who talk about suicide or self-harm
-    Self-destructive behaviour
-    Feelings of hopelessness 
-    Financial worries
-    Substance abusers

Those who are in a more vulnerable position or lifestyles are at higher risk of suicide.
These can help you to easily identify signs in anyone you come across at work, in public, or even with friends and family.

Who has responsibility to prevent suicides?

Everyone has a responsibility to prevent suicides! You do not need a professional qualification to be able to identify signs and to refer someone you believe to be in potential danger.
There are FREE online courses available for those wanting to familiarise and educate themselves further.
Zero Suicide Alliance 
All the charities listed above provide free courses. National Suicide Prevention Alliance brings individuals and organisations together from different sectors, as well as those with personal experience, and provide resources to ensure suicide prevention becomes everyone’s business.

Who else can I go to for help?

Many campaigns and resources have been delivered or led by people with personal experience with suicide and bereavement. 
An example of one is If U Care Share
This campaign aims to prevent people from getting to the stage of feeling suicidal and instead speaking to someone about personal problems rather than burying them. They share real stories from friends/family about the loved ones they have lost from suicide and offer open conversations to people to dispel myths of suicide so they may be well prepared for indications and signs.
Suicide prevention awareness training courses are available for organisations and individuals to undertake. 
If someone is at immediate risk or danger please call 999. 

Can my employer help?

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or struggling with mental health, financial difficulties, or anything you think you cannot cope with, you can go to your employer for support. Employers have a responsibility to support and promote suicide prevention policies to their employees and provide adequate support. They should also encourage employees to take care of their mental health as prevention is just as important as providing support. Recognising signs can help employers to step in before it’s too late and provide employees with the support or break they need. Those who work in professions which put them into frontline contact with vulnerable individuals are at an increased risk. An example of such occupations can be prison and probation services, nurses, and mental health support services. This strategy has been introduced throughout many organisations and sectors to help people at risk and bring attention to potential harm so that families do not suffer the devastating impact suicide causes.

What are the UK Government doing to prevent this?

The UK government has published a suicide prevention strategy report to help make people aware of the statistics of suicide caused deaths and how each individual and organisation can be better equipped to tackle the issue, potentially preventing a suicide, and saving lives.
Their goal is to ensure suicide prevention training is accessible to every individual and provide them the skills and confidence to save lives. Also, they want timely support to be given from all organisations to those experiencing suicidal thoughts. Employers, more those in high-risk occupations, must have appropriate mental health wellbeing support in place for all staff, and provide training for those who are in contact with vulnerable people. Individuals and organisations need to be wary of using language, which is supportive, but also reduces stigma of those suffering from mental health. This sometimes prevents those suffering from asking for help as they could feel shame. This is why it is crucial to create a safe space for individuals seeking support. 

The UK government have a 5-year ambition to significantly reduce harmful content relating to suicide and self-harm from social media platforms. They also aim to explore further into the risks and benefits of AI (Artificial Intelligence) in relation to suicide prevention.

What to do if you are worried about someone?

If you are worried about someone who may be at risk contact the Adult Social Care Access Team on 020 7527 2299 or complete the online safeguarding concern form.

If someone is at immediate risk or danger please call 999.