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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 August 2006, 15:15 GMT 16:15 UK
Scots suicide rate highest in UK
Depressed man
Scotland has the highest rate of suicide in the UK among men
Scotland has the highest suicide rate in the UK, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.

From 1991 to 2004 the suicide rate among men was 50% higher in Scotland than other UK countries, while the rate for women was double that of elsewhere.

During 2002/04 the suicide rate among Scottish men was 30 per 100,000 compared with 22.4 in Wales, 18.3 in Northern Ireland and 16.7 in England.

For Scots women the rate was 10 per 100,000 compared with 5.4 in England.

The figures published in the Health Statistics Quarterly showed the suicide rate among women in Wales was 6 per 100,000 and 5.6 in Northern Ireland.

The report said Scotland's highest rate of male suicide was found in Shetland, Blackpool for England, north Belfast in Northern Ireland and Denbighshire in Wales.

Suicide rates

For women the highest suicide rate in Scotland was found in Glasgow, Camden in England, Conwy in Wales and west Belfast in Northern Ireland.

The report said the UK suicide rate peaked in 1998 and has since fallen, while the suicide rate for women remained stable between 1991 and 2004.

In men, the highest suicide rate was found in the 15 to 44 age group from 1998 until the present day, while in women it was for those aged 75 and over.

There may be an emerging downward trend in suicides in Scotland, but it is too early to tell if we are starting to see a significant trend
Scottish Executive spokeswoman

Scotland had the highest suicide rate for men in all age groups over the same period.

It also had the highest rate for women aged under 75.

The figures show London had the highest rate of suicide for women aged over 75.

The Scottish Executive said it was aware of the high rate, which was why it had set up its national suicide prevention strategy, Choose Life, in 2002.

A spokeswoman said: "Encouragingly, most recent figures have shown an 8.6% decrease in suicides from last year and the number of suicides in 2005 was the lowest reported since 1991.

"Also, figures since 2000 suggest there may be an emerging downward trend in suicides in Scotland, but it is too early to tell if we are starting to see a significant trend."

Social inequalities

The spokeswoman said Choose Life was implementing specific campaigns targeted at men and that there would be initiatives connected to International Suicide Prevention Week at the start of September.

Ian Banks, president of the Men's Health Forum, said: "These figures confirm that social class is the biggest single factor for suicide among young men.

"It is almost exclusively among the lowest income families that suicide is taking place. The geographic distribution shown in today's figures reflects the social inequalities that exist in the UK.

"I would hope that today's figures will add extra weight to the government's commitment to tackle inequalities."

Watch a report on the figures

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04 Oct 04 |  Scotland


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