SA­MAR­I­TANS

Glossop Advertiser - - News - Nas­rin Fazal

THE fo­cus on sui­cide pre­ven­tion and re­duc­ing stigma around men­tal health has led to the rate of male sui­cide fall­ing to its low­est since records be­gan.

There were 4,382 sui­cides by men last year, a rate of 15.5 deaths per 100,000, says a new Of­fice for Na­tional Statis­tics (ONS) re­port.

This was down from 16 per 100,000 last year and the low­est since the ONS be­gan record­ing the rate in 1981.

Among women the rate was 4.9 per 100,000, broadly con­sis­tent with the pat­tern over the past decade. How­ever, men are still three times more likely to die by sui­cide than women. Sui­cide is not in­evitable, it is pre­ventable.

And when some­one takes their own life the re­sult is ab­so­lute dev­as­ta­tion for those left be­hind. It’s en­cour­ag­ing to see the re­duc­tion in male sui­cide. We be­lieve the fo­cus of sui­cide pre­ven­tion in re­cent years to tackle the higher rates in men has con­trib­uted to ● Men are still three times more likely than women to take their own lives this. Re­duc­ing stigma around men’s men­tal health and en­cour­ag­ing men to open up and ask for help when they are strug­gling has been ben­e­fi­cial.

But one death by sui­cide is still one too many. Both Princes Wil­liam and Harry have launched prom­i­nent men­tal health cam­paigns in re­cent years as well as celebri­ties in­clud­ing the for­mer Eng­land crick­eter An­drew Flintoff and Tony Blair’s for­mer di­rec­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tions Alas­tair Camp­bell — both of whom have ex­pe­ri­enced de­pres­sion — to try to re­duce the stigma sur­round­ing men­tal health and urge peo­ple to seek help. Prince Harry gave an in­ter­view where he de­scribed fi­nally seek­ing coun­selling to deal with the ‘chaos’ he had felt for 20 years af­ter the death of his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales.

There has long been a much higher rate of sui­cide among men than women, ac­count­ing for about three quar­ters of such deaths.

The high­est preva­lence of sui­cide is among men aged 45 to 49.

It’s also high among men aged 80 and older as their health de­clines.

Sui­cide is com­plex and it’s a prob­lem of in­equal­ity.

It af­fects the most vul­ner­a­ble and dis­ad­van­taged peo­ple in so­ci­ety, both male and fe­male, dis­pro­por­tion­ately.

So, this is an ur­gent pub­lic health is­sue, not sim­ply a health or men­tal health one.

And, de­spite the re­cent de­crease, we must work harder at un­der­stand­ing who is tak­ing their own lives, and why, and what sup­port and in­ter­ven­tions work best to save lives.

If you want to help Sa­mar­i­tans lo­cally, think about do­nat­ing some money or some of your time to Sa­mar­i­tans to help keep our life-sav­ing ser­vices go­ing.

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