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Norfolk has biggest increase in suicides in the country, figures reveal

PUBLISHED: 08:02 13 November 2019 | UPDATED: 08:02 13 November 2019

The Samaritans offer round the clock support. Photo: Bill Smith

The Samaritans offer round the clock support. Photo: Bill Smith

Archant

The number of suicides in Norfolk has risen by more than anywhere else in the country, according to new government figures.

Statistics released by the Office for National Statistics showed there were 64 suicides in the county in 2012, but in 2018 it there were 108.

The most suicides in that period were the 112 in 2014, while number had fallen to 68 in 2017. But it rose again last year.

Over the past 10 years, a third of the suicides were by people aged 45 to 59, while there were 54 suicides by people in their 80s and 90s in Norfolk. One person was aged 100.

A public health audit published in May said that 87pc of people who had died by suicide from 2008 until 2017 had seen their GP in the 12 months before their death, while nearly a quarter had seen their GP in the week before their death.

And 57pc were known to have had some contact with mental health services. Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust has been in special measures since 2017. It had been put in special measures in 2015, but was removed in 2016, before returning to the status.

The trust has appointed a specialist family liaison officer to increase the support provided to people bereaved by suicide, while Norfolk and Waveney Mind is running a support group called the Anchor Project to support loved ones of people who have died from suicide.

In September, Dr Louise Smith, director of public health in Norfolk, said: "Suicides in the UK have increased, a trend that we have also seen here in Norfolk. And whilst this may be due to a change in the way data is being reported, we strongly believe that one suicide is one too many.

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"Suicide prevention is a huge priority for us at Norfolk County Council...it's encouraging to see so many new initiatives being launched."

Nationally, there were 6,507 suicides registered in the UK - with the rate increasing for the first time since 2013.

Nick Stripe, head of health analysis and life events at the Office for National Statistics, said of the national figures: "We saw a significant increase in the rate of deaths registered as suicide last year which has changed a trend of continuous decline since 2013.

"While the exact reasons for this are unknown, the latest data show that this was largely driven by an increase among men who have continued to be most at risk of dying by suicide.

"In recent years, there have also been increases in the rate among young adults, with females under 25 reaching the highest rate on record for their age group.

"Looking at the overall trend since the early 80s, we are still witnessing a gradual decline in the rate of suicide for the population as a whole.

"We will continue to monitor the recent increase, to help inform decision makers and others that are working to protect vulnerable people at risk."

- If you are struggling to cope, call Samaritans free on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email jo@samaritans.org or visit the Samaritans website to find details of the nearest branch.

Samaritans is available round the clock, every single day of the year, providing a safe place for anyone struggling to cope, whoever they are, however they feel, whatever life has done to them.

MORE: 'Listen to them now before it is too late' - men being urged to speak about mental health

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