In 2020, Shout 85258 - the UK’s first 24/7 text messaging support service, powered by Mental Health Innovations - took 355,870 conversations with 159,297 people mentioning suicide. Shout actioned 4,704 ‘active rescues’. These take place in instances where service users who have the means and imminent time frame to complete suicide and de-escalation is not possible, so the police are alerted.
The ONS has today published figures on the number of suicides that were registered in England and Wales in 2020.
The figures show that:
- There were 5,224 suicides registered in England and Wales in 2020, a fall of 734 compared with 2019
- The suicide rate in 2020 was 10.0 deaths per 100,000 people, statistically significantly lower than the 2019 rate on 11.0 deaths per 100,000 people
- This decrease is likely to be driven by two factors: a decrease in male suicides at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and delays in death registrations because of the pandemic
- Around three-quarters of registered suicide deaths in 2020 were for men (3,925 deaths; 75.1%)
- Males and females aged 45-49 had the highest age-specific suicide rate (24.1 male and 7.1 female deaths per 100,000 people
Victoria Hornby, CEO of Mental Health Innovations, said:
“Every death by suicide is preventable. Monitoring suicide statistics helps us understand who is most at risk and where efforts to prevent suicide can most effectively be targeted.
“To date, fears about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on suicide rates have not been realised in official figures. This does not, however, mean that suicide rates haven’t increased, given the delays to coroner inquests and subsequent suicide registrations caused by the pandemic, nor that suicide is no longer a serious issue in England and Wales.
“In 2020, Shout took 355,870 conversations with 159,287 people mentioning suicide. We spoke to people who were having suicidal thoughts and ideations, people whose lives were at imminent risk and people who were concerned for a friend or loved one. Where an individual’s life was at imminent risk, we actioned 4,704 active rescues, where the emergency services were called.
“Suicide is complex but we know that one of the most significant challenges that can lead to people struggling with their mental health and thinking about taking their own life is a lack of connectedness. Loneliness and feeling as if no-one cares about you can leave a person feeling very vulnerable, especially if trying to cope with life’s significant stressors. Having nobody to talk to or support you can lead to feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.
“While there may be times in all of our lives when we might feel overwhelmed, it is important to know that you are not alone and support is available. Sometimes it can be easier to text than to say the words out loud, which is where Shout 85258 can help.
“Anyone in the UK who is struggling to cope can text ‘SHOUT’ to 85258 anonymously, confidentially and for free to speak to a trained volunteer any time of the day or night.”
Visit our Shout 85258 website for resources to support people who are having suicidal thoughts.