The rate of suicide in the UK has hit a 16-year high, according to new figures.
Data from the Office for Nationals Statistics (ONS) revealed 6,507 suicides were registered in 2018; a 12 per cent rise on the previous year and the highest amount since 2002.
Men accounted for just more than three quarters of all suicides in the UK in 2018, with 4,903 deaths compared to 1,604 female deaths.
While this is a rise among girls and women, the ONS didn’t consider it to be statistically different to that observed in the previous year.
Self-inflicted deaths among women under 25 years old also reached the highest rate on record for their age group.
As reported by The Independent, Nick Stripe, head of health analysis and life events at the ONS, said:
We saw a significant increase in the rate of deaths registered as suicide last year which has changed a trend of continuous decline since 2013.
While the exact reasons for this are unknown, the latest data show that this was largely driven by an increase among men who have continued to be most at risk of dying by suicide.
The large rise – following half a decade of decline – is thought to be largely spurred by male suicides – the male rate has significantly increased from 15.5 deaths per 100,000 to 17.2 deaths per 100,000.
In May this year, it was reported that smartphones were a catalyst behind teen suicide rates in the US.
In the five years between 2010 and 2015, the number of American teens who felt useless and joyless – classic symptoms of depression – surged 33 per cent in large national surveys. Teen suicide attempts increased 23 per cent.
Dr Twenge, author of iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy places the blame, at least in part, on young adults’ dependence on their smartphones – in 2015, 75 per cent of teens had access to a smartphone.
Dr Twenge told UNILAD about the correlation:
Several longitudinal and experimental studies show screen time leads to unhappiness rather than unhappiness leading to screen time.
New research published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry found that 13 Reasons Why – the Netflix drama which infamously showed a scene of a teenage girl killing herself -was linked to a 28.9 per cent increase in suicide rates among young people in the US aged 10-17, in the month following its release.
Prime minister Boris Johnson announced a spending boost of £1.8 million to the NHS in August, however Labour have said this fell ‘significantly short’ of the amount needed to reverse years of government cuts.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues, and want to speak to someone in confidence, please don’t suffer alone. Call Samaritans for free on their anonymous 24-hour phone line on 116 123
After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BCTJ-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He’s now left his Scottish homelands and took up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.