Official statistics show that the suicide rate in England is at its lowest ever with 8.5 deaths per 100,000 people reported in the population from 2002 to 2004. It is also noted that for the first time in 25 years there has been a steady fall in the number of young men committing suicide.
The British government had pledged to cut the suicide rates by a fifth in the National Suicide Strategy in 2002. The current report was jointly issued by the Department of Health and the National Institute for Mental Health in England. The report shows that the suicide rates are down by 6.6 percent from comparable figures between 1995 to 1997 when there were 9.2 deaths per 100,000. Suicide rates among prisoners with depression and mental health patients are also reported. The launch of three schemes in Camden, Manchester and Bedfordshire had helped cut the suicide rates, the report found. The withdrawal of the commonly prescribed painkiller co-proxamol has also gone a long way in curbing suicide rates. "Whilst these figures are positive, we must work hard to ensure that this downward trend continues," said Professor Louis Appleby, the government's mental health tsar. "Changes in the suicide rate reflect the mental health of the community and every action we take to improve mental health services will help reduce these numbers further."
Health minister Rosie Winterton added, "The sustained decline in the suicide rate for young men is welcome. This shows that our suicide prevention strategy is having a real impact on the vulnerable people who most need help." Sophie Corlett, director of policy at Mind said that a lot of work still needed to be done, "The Government must keep suicide prevention at the top of the health agenda, by working harder to prevent self-inflicted deaths in prison, and prioritizing mental health promotion throughout the country."