The number of suicides in Hampshire has risen by 12 per cent in the last two years, figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have shown.
Data shows that 101 people in Hampshire took their own life last year, compared to 88 in 2016 and 98 people in 2017.
In Southampton specifically, the suicide rate also rose between 2017 and 2018 – 24 deaths compared to 27. In Winchester, there were eight suicides in 2017, which doubled to 16 in 2018.
Rates were also up in Eastleigh and Fareham, but down in Fareham, Gosport and Test Valley.
On a national level, the number of suicides has increased for the first time since 2013, with a ‘significant increase’ among men according to the ONS. A total of 6,507 suicides were recorded in 2018, up from 5,821 in 2017.
Ruth Sutherland, the chief executive of Samaritans, a suicide prevention charity, said:
Every single one of these deaths is a tragedy that devastates families, friends and communities. Whilst the overall rise has only been seen this year – and we hope it is not the start of a longer-term trend – it’s crucial to have a better understanding of why there has been such an increase.
We know that suicide is not inevitable; it is preventable, and encouraging steps have been made to prevent suicide, but we need to look at suicide as a serious public health issue.
Three-quarters of suicides in 2018 were men (4,903) with a rate of 17.2 deaths per 100,000, compared with 15.5 in 2017. Concerns were also raised with the rate of young people aged between 10 and 24 reaching a 19-year high and the rate for females reaching an all-time time.
People aged between 45 to 59 had the highest rate of suicide, at 27.1 per 100,000 for men and 9.2 per 100,000 for women.
ONS also said that the ‘exact reasons’ for the rise is unknown but changes to how suicides are recorded may be a factor. In July 2018, the standard of proof used by coroners to determine if a death is a suicide was lowered from beyond reasonable doubt to the balance of probabilities.
If you or someone you know are struggling with mental health and suicidal thoughts, you can get in contact with Samaritans at 116 123.
Enabling Services at the University of Southampton offers Drop-In sessions on Highfield Campus at 1pm-3pm, Monday to Friday (term time) and Monday, Wednesday and Friday (vacation period). Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44(0)23 8059 7726 for more information.