UK Suicide Rates for Young Men Hit 20-Year-Low
Britain’s suicide rate for young men has plunged to its lowest level in two decades and is nearly 30 percent below its peak in 1998, the government announced on Friday.
Part of the reason, it added, was legislation limiting the number of painkilling pills people can buy at any one time. “The overall rate of suicides is at the lowest rate ever recorded and we are seeing a sustained downward trend. I’m particularly encouraged with the reduction in suicide rates in young men,” said Professor Louis Appleby, the national director of mental health. Latest figures show that in males 20-34 years old there were 19.16 suicides per 100,000 deaths in 2001-2003, compared to 23.2 in 1996-98. Hanging and suffocation are the most common method of suicide in men and account for nearly half of all male suicide deaths, according to the government report. Overall suicide death rates have fallen to 8.6 deaths per 100,000 from 9.2 in 1995-1997. Health Minister Rosie Winterton said part of the reason for the fall was legislation ordering pharmaceutical companies to reduce the size of paracetamol and aspirin packs. The 1998 law cut the size of packs that painkillers were sold in and limited the number of tablets retailers were allowed to sell. Researchers from Oxford University showed that selling the painkillers in smaller sized packs slashed suicides caused by overdoses in the three years after the law was introduced.(Source: Reuters Health: January 2005.)