The Problem: The high rate of suicides in the UK and USA
The Shaw Mind Foundation’s objective
Through our Standing Up To Suicide – The Reclaim Life Project, The Shaw Mind Foundation is making an unprecedented pledge to help significantly reduce the number of suicides in the UK and the USA within the next 10 years.
Suicide is not unavoidable, indeed it can be prevented.
Suicide is often the ultimate consequence of mental ill-health. For every suicide or attempted suicide, there is an individual who is suffering, a family that is devastated, a work environment or school that is affected. This is an issue that impacts all of society, and ultimately affects everybody’s wellbeing and productivity.
Every project and campaign that we implement will be part of our overarching Standing Up To Suicide – The Reclaim Life Project, to ensure that we help more people who could be at risk of taking their own life.
Suicide Statistics USA and UK
Suicide rates are still far to high. The number remains unacceptably high despite minor increases and decreases over the last 10 years.
Mental health issues are increasing among younger people. Social media has been linked to increased rates of anxiety and depression, with 7 out of 10 young people in the UK admitting to being victims of cyber bullying.
- In the USA, 850 people a week take their own lives. That’s the equivalent of two fully loaded jumbo jets, carrying American citizens, going down in flames with no survivors, every single week. On average, there are 121 suicides per day.
- In the UK, 115 people a week take their own lives. This figure equates to three times more people dying from suicide each year than through road accidents. Every four minutes someone in the UK tries to take their own life, and every hour and a half someone succeeds.
These figures equate to over 44,000 people (USA) and 6,000 (UK) taking their lives every year.
In the last 45 years, suicide rates have increased by 60% worldwide, and the World Health Organisation’s estimates suggest that worldwide, suicide fatalities could rise to 1.5 million by 2020.
These statistics are a harrowing reflection of just how desperate so many people feel, and how dire the situation actually is.
These suicide rates are unacceptable; this is a disaster of epic proportions happening every day. Yet for some reason we accept these figures. Not enough is being done to prevent further suicides from occurring, and the number is forecast to rise year after year.
Because suicide is related to mental health issues, we seem to accept it. We resign ourselves to the fact that nothing can be done; that it will continue to happen. Imagine how terribly demoralising that is for our society, our children and the next generation, especially as mental ill health is now the most common illness across the USA and UK.
The USA and the UK are two of the most progressive countries in the world, so when it comes to mental health issues, we need to stand up and lead by example.
Click here to see the Office for National Statistics analysis of deaths from suicide in different occupational groups for people aged 20 to 64 years, based on deaths registered in England between 2011 and 2015.
These suicide statistics are incomprehensible – but many more people attempt suicide
Unfortunately, these figures are just the tip of the iceberg. Data shows that for every suicide, there are 25 more attempted suicides. In fact, figures may be even higher, as many attempts go unreported and untreated.
How many people have thoughts about suicide, without actually attempting it?
Understanding and interpreting suicide statistics
Whilst understanding and interpreting suicide statistics can be difficult (as the figures are not always as simple as they might appear), the current suicide figures are a sad reflection of our society.
To take preventative measures it is paramount that suicide data is accurate and easy to interpret. For this reason, in conjunction with our corporate patrons, The Shaw Mind Foundation is also developing technology that will accurately collate and asses suicide data on an annual basis. These statistics will be used to measure any trends in suicides and will act as a guide for measuring our key objective of reducing the number of suicides within 10 years.
Are you thinking about harming yourself, or suicide?
If you are reading this page and are thinking about harming yourself or taking your own life, we would urge you to give considered thought to all the consequences of your decisions. You may have a long standing problem and currently be unable to imagine a way out. However, with the right help and treatment it will not be permanent.
It is not too late to get help if you have already harmed yourself
If you have already harmed yourself, or have taken steps to end your life, but would like to talk to someone or have changed your mind, we would urge you to act as soon as possible; it is not too late to get help. Casualty departments at your local hospital and the emergency services, as well as a number of charity phone services, will be able to assist and advise you at this time.
Suicide prevention – free guide
Suicide is never the answer.
Most people contemplating suicide don’t want to die; they just want to stop the pain and the hurt they’re feeling. They can see no other way out. But suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
Fortunately, it is never too late to help. Together, we can reach out to people who can’t see a way out, and bring them back from the brink. Together we will help reduce the suicide rates now, and for future generations.
Sources:  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Office for National Statistics. (2011). Suicide rates in the United Kingdom, 2000-2009.  Office for National Statistics. (2012). Suicide rates in the United Kingdom, 2006 to 2010.  Office for National Statistics. (2013). Suicides in the United Kingdom: 2011 registrations.  Office for National Statistics. (2014). Suicides in the United Kingdom: 2012 registrations.  Office for National Statistics. (2016). Suicides in the United Kingdom: 2014 registrations.  Office for National Statistics. (2016). Suicides in the UK: 2015 registrations.