Suicide rates for women and girls under the age of 24 increased last year by the widest margin since records began in 1981, data from the Office for National Statistics showed.
There were 3.6 deaths per 100,000 people in this category, against 2.5 in 2020. Risk factors such as debt, financial stress and housing instability were highlighted by Lourdes Colclough, head of suicide prevention at the charity Rethink Mental Illness. She said that they were “affecting more people as the cost of living crisis deepens”.
There were 5,583 suicides registered in England and Wales last year, equivalent to 10.7 deaths per 100,000 people. The level is consistent with rates in 2018 and 2019. The number of suicides fell in 2020 during the pandemic, which the ONS said was likely to have been driven by a decrease in male suicides and delays in death registrations.
Last year men aged between 50 and 54 had the highest suicide rate at 22.7 deaths per 100,000; for women the rate was highest among those aged 45-49, with 7.8 deaths per 100,000. London had the lowest overall rate in England.
•The Samaritans are available free on 116 123 (UK and Ireland).News