The Department of Health must recognise the enormity of the problem, as the ratio of male to female suicides shows sustained rise over 30 years.
Responding to the suicide statistics released today by the Office for National Statistics, CALM, the charity dedicated to preventing male suicide in the UK, call upon the Government to take comprehensive action to tackle what is now the single biggest killer of men aged under 45 in the UK.
Suicide statistics for England and Wales show not just a record number of self-inflicted male deaths in 2013, but also an increasingly marked divergence between the ratio of male to female suicides; almost 78% of all such deaths in England and Wales were male. The statistics show:
HEADLINES FROM TODAY’S ONS FIGURES
- 6,233 suicides of people aged 15 and over were registered in the UK in 2013, 252 more than in 2012 (a 4% increase).
- The UK suicide rate was 11.9 deaths per 100,000 population in 2013. The male suicide rate was more than three times higher than the female rate, with 19.0 male deaths per 100,000 compared to 5.1 female deaths.
- The male suicide rate in 2013 was the highest since 2001. Female rates have stayed relatively constant since 2007.
- The highest UK suicide rate in 2013 by broad age group was in men aged 45 to 59, at 25.1 deaths per 100,000, the highest for that age group since 1981.
- The highest suicide rate among the English regions was in North East England at 13.8 deaths per 100,000 population, while London had the lowest at 7.9 per 100,000.
In view of these alarming trends CALM calls on the Department of Health to recognise the enormity of the problem facing men in particular, and develop a gendered gendered and strategic approach to reducing male suicide in the UK. Jane Powell, CEO of CALM, says:
“We welcome the Government’s recent focus on suicide prevention but we are still not talking about the specific role gender plays in the silent daily tragedy of male suicide.
“It makes no sense, as it currently stands, for the Department of Health to focus on the prevention of ‘older male suicide’, when men of all age groups are between two and five times more likely to take their lives than women.
“The research is clear that men behave differently to women when depressed. Men are more likely to end up on a drunken binge and being arrested rather than seeing a GP about their emotional problems. And yet there is no strategy to reach out to men, despite the fact that gender is a significant risk factor for suicide.
“This is an urgent issue which the new Government must address early in the next Parliament.”
CALM rebuts any suggestion that men ‘simply won’t seek help’ but they need the right help, tailored to their experiences and needs. In the past year CALM has received over 40,000 calls to their helpline, 80 per cent of which were men, of every age and background.
CALM, a charity with less than £1 million annual turnover, continues to struggle to respond to demand from men using its helpline.
Powell emphasises: “CALM needs help taking more calls, so that we can prevent more suicides. But in the end this problem can only be resolved culturally, when we as a society allow and encourage men to talk about the issues that affect them. The Department of Health can play a huge part here by acknowledging the crucial role gender plays in suicide and factoring this into its strategy.”
CALM, the campaign against living miserably, is an award-winning charity dedicated to preventing male suicide in the UK via
- a free, confidential helpline and webchat service taking over 40,000 calls a year on 0800 585858 (national) 0808 802 5858 (London) open 7 days a week, 5pm – midnight.
- www.thecalmzone.net - a site where men can hear about other mens lives as well as help and information
- CALMzine, our award-winning quarterly men's lifestyle magazine.
In 2013 in England & Wales, there were 5,140 suicides, 78% of which were male (4,020)
CALM is reg charity no's. 1110621 and SC044347