Suicides soar to record levels in England in late 2019

Suicides soar to record levels in England with over 1,400 recorded in just three months – up 25% in two years

  • The Office for National Statistics is finalising suicide numbers recorded in 2019
  • Early figures claim the end of 2019 saw the highest suicide figures for 19 years
  • Men in their early 50s were most likely to take their own lives the figures show 
  • The north east of England saw the highest number of suicides during late 2019 

 The number of people taking their own lives in England has jumped more than a quarter in two years according to provisional figures collated by the Office of National Statistics.       

 The data compares the final three months of 2019 with the same period of 2017. It shows that there were 1,413 deaths attributed to suicide recorded during that time. 

According to statisticians, the suicide level reached 11.4 deaths per 100,000 people in late 2019 – which is a 19-year high. 

Provisional figures produced by the Office of National Statistics have indicated that the number of people taking their own lives has hit its highest level in 19 years during the final three months of 2019

The figures show that men aged between 50 and 54 are in the highest risk group, while the north east of England has the highest rate of 12.8 deaths per 100,000 people – compared with 8.4 deaths per 100,000 in London

The figures, which are yet to be finalised found that the men accounted for 74 per cent of suicides with the most common age between 50 and 54. 

There was also a significant regional breakdown across England with the northeast of the country having the highest number – resulting in 12.8 deaths per 100,000 people. The corresponding figure in London is 8.4 per 100,000 and 8.5 per 100,000 in the north west. 

However, the proof needed for coroners to reach a determination of suicide in England and Wales was reduced in July 2018. This change could have seen a statistical increase in the number of deaths attributed to suicide which would have earlier been counted under a different classification. 

Head of research at The Samaritans Dr Elizabeth Scowcroft told The Independent: ‘Every single one of these deaths is a tragedy that devastates families, friends and communities. Suicide is complex and rarely caused by one thing.

‘Many of us may experience suicidal feelings in our life, but they are temporary, even if someone has been feeling low, anxious or struggling to cope for a long period of time. That’s why getting the right kind of support at the right time is so important.’  

The ONS figures do not include the period of the coronavirus lockdown, which will not be available for about six months. 

Several people are already believed to have taken their own lives in recent weeks while in isolation. There are also fears over the mental health of front line NHS workers who are dealing with Covid-19 patients. 

This has prompted the NHS to launch a mental health hotline to offer support to hundreds of thousands of health workers on the frontline in the fight against coronavirus.

Anyone needing help with the pressures they are facing will be able to call or text a free number staffed by more than 1,500 trained volunteers.

The volunteers, including from Hospice UK, the Samaritans and Shout, will listen to NHS staff – or those from social care – and give psychological support to those in need.

Staff can also be signposted to further support, such as financial assistance or specialist bereavement and psychological services.

The phone line will be open between 7am and 11pm every day and the text service will be 24/7. 

The phone number is 0300 131 7000 while staff can text FRONTLINE to 85258.

Anyone seeking help can call Samaritans free on 116 123 or visit

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