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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 July, 2003, 16:31 GMT 17:31 UK
Male suicide rate high
Males are more vulnerable
Suicide is the single biggest cause of accidental or violent death among men in England and Wales, statistics show.

Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that during 2001 more men took their own lives than died in road accidents.

In total, there were 3,538 cases where suicide was either confirmed, or suspected among men.

This accounted for more than one third (34%) of the total number of male accidental or violent deaths during the year.

In comparison, just over a fifth of the total were caused by road accidents.

In all, there were 16,569 deaths from injury and poisoning in England and Wales in 2001.

The risk for men was nearly twice that of women.

Among females half of accidental or violent deaths were caused by falls.

There were 1,167 cases of confirmed or suspected suicide - 19% of the total.

Cultural problem

Sarah Nelson, a spokeswoman for the Samaritans, blamed the stiff upper lip culture in the UK for the continuing high rate of suicides.

She said: "Our research suggests that people can benefit from talking about what's going on inside their head.

"It is a very big problem needing a wholesale change in public attitudes.

"We are looking at a society that is only just coming to terms with suicide, it was only decriminalised in 1964," Ms Nelson said.

Paul Farmer, of the mental health charity Rethink, said: "Every suicide is a tragedy for those affected.

"Sadly a significant proportion of people who take their own life have a severe mental illness.

"The National Suicide Prevention Strategy for England must be fully implemented so that people can get help early on rather than having to wait until a crisis develops."

Men were most likely to take their own lives by hanging, strangulation or suffocation.

Ministers are committed to reducing the suicide rate by at least 20% by 2010.

Measures to identify people at high risk at an earlier stage were introduced last autumn.

The ONS report also shows that the number that road accidents are killing an increasing number of children under 15.

In 2001, 44% of accidental or violent deaths among under-15s were due to "land transport accidents".

In 2000, the figure was 39%.

One in six 'considers suicide'
25 Mar 02  |  Health

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