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ONS data shows men are still three times more likely to die by suicide than women

Today, the Office for National Statistics has released the latest suicide statistics for Great Britain. The new figures, representative of 2016, show an overall reduction in the number of suicides to a six-year low and a reduction in the rate of male suicide – similar to the previous year – by 0.5%. However, there remains a stark gender bias in suicides, with 76% of all suicides in Great Britain being male, meaning men are still three times more likely to take their own lives than women.

The total number of men dying by suicide in Great Britain in 2016 was 4,287; a rate of 15.7 per 100,000 and, in comparison with 2015 figures, a decrease of 90 deaths. The ONS data shows that middle-aged men are still the age group at greatest risk.

Suicide rates for men and women in Great Britain. Source: ONS

The ONS acknowledged that charities are likely to have played a part in reducing the male suicide rate in Great Britain. Since 2006, the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) has taken a gendered approach to suicide prevention and, by our own calculations, our helpline and webchat allowed us to reach over 58,000 men in 2016, preventing a total of 456 suicides.

In addition to providing front line support for men who are in crisis, we continue to strongly campaign and challenge the entrenched stereotypes of masculinity that often put many men under pressure to be invulnerable.

Simon Gunning, CEO of CALM, said: “We welcome the reduction in the rate of male suicide. While that provides hope for suicide prevention, it’s clear that gender is still a huge issue and much work is still to be done. We continue to tackle male suicide head-on and aim to empower men to express themselves and find support when they need it – among their mates, their families, in the workplace, and in our schools.”

CALM’s free, confidential and anonymous helpline and webchat are open every day, 5pm – midnight. If you need help, or know someone that might, more information is available here.

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