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Suicide Awareness Facts and Figures

Posted Wednesday, 10 October 2012, 2.06pm

Common views on suicide

Suicide is a taboo subject in today’s society; most people feel uncomfortable discussing suicide and will miss signs that people they know are considering suicide as an option. Although suicide is common in the UK, many people still think that it is an illegal act but suicide was de-criminalised in the 1961 suicide act.

Many people view suicide as ‘another way people die’, and it is easy to understand how these people might think that investing in training is not worthwhile. However the WHO records suicides as preventable deaths and a more positive message can be carried to those at risk as we build suicide safer communities.

These positive messages and core beliefs are that:

  • Suicide is a community health problem.
  • Thoughts of suicide are understandable, complex and personal.
  • Suicide can be prevented.
  • Thoughts of suicide are dangerous. And all persons with thoughts of suicide should be taken seriously.
  • Help-seeking is encouraged by open, direct and honest talk about suicide.
  • Relationships are the context of suicide intervention.
  • Intervention should be the main prevention focus.
  • Cooperation is the essence of intervention.
  • Intervention skills are known and can be learned.
  • Large numbers of people can be taught intervention skills.
  • Evidence of effectiveness should be broadly defined, including case studies of those who have survived having thoughts of suicide.

UK suicide figures

  • In 2009, the UK there was 5,675 reported suicides.
  • In Cumbria, there are about 50 to 60 suicides every year.
  • There are up to 25% additional unreported suicides.
  • Non-fatal suicidal behaviours are 40 to 100 times greater than number of suicides.
  • The number of people with thoughts of suicide are approximately 3,089,600 per year.
  • The number of lives lost each year through suicide exceeds the number of deaths due to homicide and war combined.
  • Research suggests that most people who think of suicide also have reasons for living and for this reason we believe we need to help people find those reasons to keep them safe.
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