It was on March 23, 2020, that the first UK nationwide lockdown was announced and now, in November, the UK finds itself in Lockdown II.
The suicide rate for men in England and Wales in 2019 was the highest for two decades, official figures show.
Data from the ONS (The Office for National Statistics) concludes that there were 5,691 suicides registered, with an age-standardised rate of 11 deaths per 100,000 population. The ONS said men accounted for about three-quarters of suicide deaths registered in 2019, 4,303 compared with 1,388 women.
The England and Wales male suicide rate of 16.9 deaths per 100,000 was the highest since 2000 but remained in the line with the 2018 rate. The rate for women was 5.3 deaths per 100,000, the highest since 2004. Samaritans pointed to “worrying trends”, including men aged 45-49 remaining at the highest risk of suicide, and an increase in suicide rates among young people, especially women under 25.
An increase in suicide rates among people aged 25 to 44 in recent years continued in 2019. “With the impact of the pandemic this year taking a huge toll on people’s mental wellbeing, we should be even more concerned,” said the charity’s chief executive, Ruth Sutherland.
Although there was no guarantee the impact of Covid-19 would lead to higher suicide rates, Samaritans said its research, based on calls to its helpline, found the pandemic had exacerbated known risk factors for people already vulnerable.
Middle-aged men in the UK and Ireland experience higher suicide rates than any other groups, a fact that has persisted for decades. Inequality is a key element of understanding why this group are at increased risk of suicide.
We know it is very likely that the long-term effects of coronavirus will affect those already socially and economically disadvantaged.
Previous research has shown that men who are less well-off and living in the most deprived areas are up to 10 times more likely to die by suicide than more well-off men from affluent areas.
In addition, we know that this group are also more vulnerable to the adverse effects of economic recession, including suicide risk, than women.