Suicide rates in young men ‘at lowest levels since 1970s’

February 15, 2008 at 11:23 pm | Posted in psychiatry | Leave a comment
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http://www.inthenews.co.uk/news/health/suicide-rates-in-young-men-at-lowest-levels-since-1970s-$1204581.htm 

Fewer young men in the UK are taking their own lives than at any time since the 1970s, a new report says today.

The study, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), says factors that have reduced suicide rates in men aged 15 to 34 include less unemployment and laws that have reduced the risks from car exhaust fumes.

Researchers from the University of Bristol worked with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and IMS Health to assess data on suicide mortality, population statistics and surveys between 1968 and 2005.

For men aged between 15 and 24, the overall suicide rate dropped from 16.6 per 100,000 people in 1990 to 8.5 per 100,000 in 2005.

Among 25-34 year old men, overall suicide rates declined from 22.2 per 100,000 in 1990 to 15.7 per 100,000 in 2005.

For women, current suicide rates are at their lowest levels since 1968, but the proportion of women aged 15 to 34 committing suicide by hanging has increased from 5.7 per cent of all suicides to 47.3 per cent by 2005.

“Just as no single factor was clearly associated with the rise in suicide in young men in the 1950s-1990s, favourable changes in several different factors – levels of employment, substance misuse, and antidepressant prescribing as well as policy focus on suicide and vehicle exhaust gas legislation – may have contributed to the recent reductions in England and Wales,” the researchers conclude.

“It is also possible that the reductions in several factors, including suicide, relate to some broader societal change not captured in this analysis.”

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