Men are five times more likely to commit suicide than women.
Difficulties surrounding employment; divorce and child custody problems; long-term health conditions – all these can be factors affecting a sense of self-worth, for men and women.
But men are much less likely to access mental health support, for them, these problems are much more likely to end in suicide.
The highly regarded study of suicide launched this week in Leeds confirms all this. It will be used to understand who is at risk and where help can be targeted.
Suicide audits of this type are key recommendations of the national strategy on suicide prevention. They determine the characteristics, events and risk factors that contribute to a person taking their own life. A suicide audit ensures resources and prevention interventions are targeted effectively to where there is most need.
The last suicide audit completed by public health professionals in Leeds is considered a ‘gold standard’ and is recommended by Public Health England as a model from which other areas should learn.
The new audit shows an increase in the rate of suicides in men. White British males are the group most at risk in Leeds.
The new audit confirms an established pattern – suicide and deprivation are linked. 55% of the audit population lived in the most deprived 40% of the city. The areas with the highest number of suicides per postcode district have remained broadly the same between the audits. The area with the highest number of suicides is slightly to the west and south of the city centre. These areas make a band across LS13, LS12, LS11, LS10 and LS9.
However, in this new audit, distribution seems to be less concentrated in the southern parts of the city. Several districts in the north and west of the city have seen a slight increase in the number of suicides; these include LS17, LS16, LS18, LS19, LS20 and LS21. This will be continue to be monitored.
In Leeds, suicide prevention has been a priority for the city for some time.
There is a long-standing, multi-agency strategic suicide prevention group .
The previous audit, completed in 2012, has already influenced action for the city including
– special suicide prevention training for frontline council and health staff as well as other volunteers;
– -support for work with men in areas of the city with higher rates of suicide;
– a crisis card helping people access services wider than mental health services;
– co-production of media guide-lines on reporting suicide
– and innovative ‘postvention’ work, involving Leeds Suicide Bereavement Service which supports local people who have been affected by the death of someone by suicide.
Labour’s Rebecca Charlwood, who is Chair of Leeds Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “This report confirms suicide is one of the biggest causes of death particularly affecting men under 50 in Leeds. We know however that suicide is not inevitable and that we all have a key role to play in order to help save the lives of those with suicidal thoughts.
“Suicide prevention will continue to be a priority in the city and the wide network of individuals and organisations working together to support people affected, highlights the key work taking place in Leeds to create a city which is a healthier and better place to live.”
You can read the audit in full here https://t.co/xUmhbITJ3t
Anyone wanting advice can contact:
Samaritans: 08457 90 90 90
Leeds Suicide Bereavement Service: 0113 260 9328.
Details of many services which can help are on a free poster available to download at http://www.leeds.gov.uk/docs/CrisisCard.pdf