The Office of National Statistics has published figures on suicide rates in the UK for 2013. An overall increase of 4% (252 people) from 2012 to 2013 gives a total figure of 6,233, where male suicide rate is 3 times higher than female, and the highest since 2001.
Between 1981 and 2007 there was a general down turn in the rate of suicide, but there has been a year on year increase since then, with the highest numbers in 2013 in the North East and the lowest in London.
Social, financial and emotional factors will contribute to suicide, but mental health problems are often at the centre. If this trend continues to increase then it means that acute and community mental health providers will need to be better equipped to support these people and their families. The increase in suicides shows that in many instances these support services are failing. The Mental Health Foundation and the Royal College of Nursing have joined forces to call for early intervention and better mental health provision in the community.
At Price Slater Gawne we have represented families who have lost loved ones at all stages. Some were in acute care units at the time, and others under the care of the community mental health team. Some were trying to access mental health support services but were unsuccessful. Each of these tragedies could have been avoided if the care and support had been better resourced and more attention paid to patients in crisis. Often families are key sources of information. They must be listened to and included in the assessment and treatment process.
If you would like to discuss this further, please contact us.
The full report from the Office for National Statistics is available here