The Office for National Statistics has released its bulletin on suicides in England and Wales for 2021.
The bulletin indicates that there were 5,583 suicides registered in England and Wales in 2021; equivalent to a rate of 10.7 deaths per 100,000 people. This is similar to pre-pandemic rates in 2018 and 2019.
Around three-quarters of suicides were males, which aligns with long-term trends. Among females, those aged 45 to 49 had the highest age-specific suicide rate, while among males it was highest in 50 to 54 year-olds.
Startlingly, females aged 24 years or under have seen the largest increase in suicide rate since ONS records began in 1981. There were 3.6 deaths per 100,000 people in this category in 2021, rising from 2.5 the previous year.
Young women are the main users of our Shout text support service: in 2021, 48% or around 100,000 of our texters were girls and young women aged under 25. In the conversations that Shout Volunteers had with these texters, 37% had suicide as an issue. There were 250,000 conversations with this group overall, meaning that we took around 90,000 conversations with young women discussing suicide over the course of 2021.
Victoria Hornby OBE, Chief Executive of Mental Health Innovations, said:
“Every life lost to suicide is a tragedy, yet we know that suicide is often preventable and not inevitable. It’s sobering to see such an increase in the suicide rate of young women.
"Digital services can play a vital role in preventing mental health crises by helping people at the precise point at which they need it. Every day we see hundreds of girls and young women reach out to Shout for ‘in the moment’ support. Indeed, Shout provides immediate, life-saving support to a broad range of people at high risk of suicide, but particularly girls and young women.
"We are always there, around the clock, for anyone who needs us”