The Daily Telegraph

Suicide rate among young women is worst in 40 years

- By Gabriella Swerling SOCIAL AFFAIRS EDITOR

SUICIDE rates among young women have seen the sharpest increase since records began four decades ago.

Last year, 3.6 women’s deaths per 100,000 were recorded as a suicide – up on 2020 when the rate for those aged 24 and under was 2.5 per 100,000.

In 1981, the level was 2.3 deaths per 100,000 in the same age bracket.

There were a total of 5,583 suicides registered in England and Wales in 2021, equivalent to a rate of 10.7 deaths per 100,000 people, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The “worrying” figures have prompted mental health experts to question why the suicide rate is increasing among young women.

Stephen Buckley, of the charity Mind, said: “We’re unclear as to exactly what is behind this. What we do know is that young people were among those hardest hit by the pandemic, greatly affected by loneliness and isolation associated with lockdowns, school closures, missed exams and concerns about future careers.

“Women are more likely to have experience­d traumatic events such as abuse and are more likely to be diagnosed with a mental health problem.”

He added: “Social media – which can be a valuable source of peer support – can also negatively affect young people’s mental health and self-esteem as users may be encouraged to scroll through others’ unrealisti­c images, which often portray their lives in the best possible light,” Mr Buckley added.

The ONS said while the 2021 overall suicide rate was significan­tly higher than the 2020 rate of 10 deaths per 100,000 people, it was consistent with pre-pandemic rates of 2019 and 2018.

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