“In Wales, between 300 and 350 people die from suicide each year. While causes of suicides are complex, we do know that there are factors which increase the risk for specific groups and individuals. These factors include poor mental health, deprivation, gender and alcohol misuse.
Suicide is now the single biggest killer of men aged under 45 in the UK, with 76% of all suicides in 2014 being men. Men are four times more likely to die by suicide than women in the UK and in Wales; the rate is at its highest since 1981. In 2014, 81% of all suicides in Wales were by men.
The link between socio-economic deprivation and increased risk of suicide is well established. Previous academic studies have shown us, for example, that men from the lowest socioeconomic group living in the most deprived areas are at greater risk of suicide than those in the most affluent group living in the most affluent areas. Every local area in Wales has a unique geography, economy, and population. It follows that a profile of deprivation and associated suicide risk will also vary between local populations.
The breadth of complex factors involved in suicide risk highlights the need for multi-agency and cross-governmental action. This is not a single task for any particular organisation or sector in isolation. It is instead, a local and national imperative and one that should be seen as a major and urgent priority in the national public health agenda in Wales. We must be able to give people the best chance to turn their lives around when they are struggling.
In Wales, we work to reduce suicide across our nation. We reach out to high risk groups and communities, we work in partnership with prisons, schools, hospitals and rail staff and we engage with Welsh Government and the National Assembly to influence policy and legislation.”