Mental health in the UK has been at the forefront of the news for much of the year.
Official figures reveal suicide rates in the UK have seen the largest fall in 20 years.
This is great news for mental health in the UK.
But, it cannot be ignored that the rates are still very high. There are significant amounts of vulnerable individuals taking their own lives because they feel that it’s their only option.
Office for National Statistics data shows there were 3.6% fewer suicides registered in 2016 than in 2015 - a decrease by 223 deaths from 6,188. Rates fell for both men and women. Men still account for ¾ of cases.
Experts believe the drop shows suicide-prevention initiatives are helping.
It is believed that there are many contributors to the act of suicide.
- mental health problems
- drugs and/or alcohol addiction problems
- relationship breakdowns
The Samaritans says deprivation is another factor contributing to issues with mental health in the UK.
Men from the most disadvantaged backgrounds are 10 times more likely to die by suicide than those in more affluent areas. This is a shocking figure.
A spokeswoman said: "There is still a lot of work to be done because suicide still kills three times more people than road traffic accidents.
"Samaritans is working hard with partners, including the NHS, other charities and local authorities, to bring these figures down further.
"Suicide is not inevitable, it's preventable and politicians, employers, health bodies and educators all have a role in identifying and supporting those most at risk."
Vicki Nash, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Mind, the mental health charity, said: "It is encouraging to see that the number of suicides appears to be falling. Not all suicides are mental-health related but the majority are and we know from previous research that there has been particular progress when it comes to people in touch with mental health services.
"We need to ensure that these are the beginnings of much longer-term trends - we lose almost 6,000 lives a year to suicide and every one is a tragedy, so despite these positive findings it is clear that we still have a long way to go."
It is becoming more common for people from all backgrounds to discuss their mental health more openly.
But, the demographic that still struggles to discuss mental health struggles is men.
¾ of cases of suicide are men. This is a very large majority.
Work needs to be done and resources need to be made available to help tackle the stigma around men’s mental health and suicide. Many men struggle to cope with anxiety, stress and depression because they do not feel they can openly discuss their struggles without being judged by their peers and being deemed “weak”.
A culture must be created whereby individuals feel comfortable discussing mental health issues.
This could reduce the amount of people who see suicide as their only answer to their problems.
Here at Swain & Co our specialist Mental Health Lawyers have represented many people with suicidal intentions or who have made attempts to take their own lives and are detained in hospital under the Mental Health Act 1983 (as amended). They are very experienced in this field and ensuring vulnerable clients get the treatment and support they need.
Swain & Co Solicitors work tirelessly to assist vulnerable people and ensure that their rights under the Mental Health Act are observed. If you, a family member or friend are experiencing problems or are detained under the Mental Health Act contact our team today on 02392 483322.