Almost a dozen suicide deaths registered in South Tyneside last year
Almost a dozen suicide deaths were registered in South Tyneside last year, new figures show, as charities call for greater action ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day.
Organised by the International Association for Suicide Prevention and the World Health Organization, World Suicide Prevention Day has been observed on September 10 every year since 2003 and sees people come together around the world to raise awareness of the issue.
The theme this year is "creating hope through action" and aims to inspire confidence and hope among those struggling with their mental health.
Office for National Statistics figures show 11 deaths from suicide were registered in South Tyneside in 2021 – in line with the year before.
A further 10 suicide deaths were recorded in 2019, meaning there were 7.7 suicides per 100,000 people in the area in the three years to 2021.
This was down from 8 in 2018-20 and 8.4 in 2017-19.
There were 5,583 suicides registered nationally in 2021, equivalent to a rate of 10.7 deaths per 100,000 people – up from 10.0 in 2020, but roughly in line with pre-pandemic levels of 11 in 2019 and 10.5 in 2018.
The figures only include registrations in 2021, meaning they could include deaths that occurred in 2020 but were registered the following year due to disruption to coroners' inquests caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Mental health charity Rethink Mental Illness said that despite improvements in awareness, the increase in the suicide rate across England and Wales highlights the need to tackle the many risk factors that lead to suicide, including debt, financial stress and housing instability, all of which are being exacerbated by the cost-of-living crisis.
And Samaritans said the figures are "more worrying evidence that not enough is being done to drive down our high suicide rates".
Jacqui Morrissey, assistant director of research and influencing at the suicide-prevention charity, said: "We want to see a new national suicide prevention plan, led by the Government, that will achieve the lowest national suicide rate in history – anything less will simply be accepting failure."
Lourdes Colclough, head of suicide prevention at Rethink Mental Illness, highlighted the "particularly worrying" increasing trend of suicides among young women – suicide rates among females aged under 24 saw the greatest increase since records began in 1981, from 2.5 per 100,000 women in 2020 to 3.6 per 100,000 in 2021.
Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of the charity SANE, said this increase is "deeply alarming", while Samaritans' research showed young people are more likely to face financial hardship in the wake of the pandemic and during the cost-of-living crisis.
The Department for Health and Social Care said: "Every suicide is a tragedy and our sympathies go to the family and friends of those affected."
A spokesperson added that it is prioritising children and young people's mental health with the existing Suicide Prevention Strategy and is investing £57 million in suicide prevention through the NHS to "support local plans and develop suicide bereavement services" across the country.
Contact Samaritans for free at anytime on 116 123 or visit www.samaritans.org.