31 August 2006


The Celts

The English

SCOTS are twice as likely to kill themselves as the English, figures show.

Between 2002/04 30 men in every 100,000 committed suicide compared with 16.7 in England. For women, 10 took their own lives in every 100,000. In England it was just 5.4.

Experts blame poverty, unemployment, alcohol, drug and mental problems. A spokeswoman for the Scottish Executive said: "We are committed to tackling this."

Scotland's highest number of male suicides was in the Shetland Islands and for women in Glasgow

Scots twice as likely to kill themselves as the English. The suicide rates of Wales and Northern Ireland are also higher than England.

Wednesday, 30th August 2006

Category: Healthy Living

Scots are almost twice as likely to kill themselves as the English, statistics reveal today.

Figures show that the suicide rate north of the border is 50 percent higher than the UK average.

The Shetland Islands saw the most male suicides per head of population in the whole of the UK, while Glasgow had the highest rate of female suicides.

Experts say there is no one reason for the huge difference, but link the problem to mental illness and poverty.

In the whole of the UK, deprived areas saw far higher suicide levels when compared to other regions.

But the figures released by the Office of National Statistics do show suicide rates in Britain and Northern Ireland have dropped.

Across the UK in 2004 there were 5,906 adult suicides, down seven per cent from 6,366 in 1991. Far more men than women commit suicide.

Between 2002 and 2004, the suicide rate amongst Scottish men was 30 per 100,000, compared with 16.7 in England. The figure is 50 per cent higher than the UK as a whole.

Among women, the level was 10 deaths for every 100,000 Scots, nearly twice the 5.4 deaths per 100,000 in England and also nearly double that of the whole of the UK.

Wales had 22.4 male deaths and 6 female deaths per 100,000 and Northern Ireland had 18.3 deaths and 5.6 female deaths per 100,000.

Professor Stephen Platt, from the University of Edinburgh, who has researched suicidal behaviour, said nobody could say for certain why the Scottish suicide rate was so high and that more research needed to be done.

He said: "There is a lot of speculation but nobody knows the reason for the high numbers of suicides in Scotland.

"There are a number of suggestions that relate to psychiatric, social and economic aspects.

"We know that most people who commit suicide have some sort of psychiatric condition at their time of death. Perhaps there is a higher level of psychiatric illness in Scotland or authorities' intervention is less effective, but there is no data that supports this.

"There is a lot of evidence that factors such as the state of the economy and the level of unemployment also influence the suicide rate and there are people working on this theory."

Professor Platt said the high rate of suicide in Glasgow could be linked to the city's well-known low-life expectancy.

He said: "It is well-known that Glasgow seems to have disproportionate levels of heart disease and cancer depression.

"The suicide rate is almost certainly linked to high levels of deprivation in Glasgow, which are higher than other places in the UK and far removed from the south of England.

"Suicide levels in Scotland used to be lower than the rest of the UK before 1970 and one explanation of the change could be that the efforts to improve the economy at that time were more difficult to pull off in Scotland."

He said it was crucial that problems linked to deprivation and suicide were tackled quickly, saying improvements have coincided with the recent drop in the rate of suicide.

Professor Platt added: "It is absolutely vital to treat people with depression or with alcohol or drug dependencies early. In the past few years we have got this knowledge through to GPs."

He said it was too early to tell whether recent efforts to reduce suicide rates were the reason for the drop in levels, adding that suicide rates did fluctuate from time to time.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Executive echoed this, saying: "We have known for some time that Scotland has the highest rates of suicide in the whole of the UK. We are committed to tackling this and this is why we set up Choose Life, our national suicide prevention strategy, in 2002.

"Figures since 2000 suggest there may be an emerging downward trend in suicides in Scotland, but it is too early to tell if we are starting to see a significant trend.

"Every suicide is a tragedy and suicide prevention should be everyone’s business if we are to reduce rates further."

UK suicide rates per 100,000


Scotland - 30
Wales - 22.4
Northern Ireland - 18.3
England - 16.7


Scotland - 10
Wales - 6
Northern Ireland - 5.6
England - 5.4


World suicide rates per 100,000


Scotland - 30
France - 26.1
Germany - 20.2
Canada - 19.5
United States - 17.6
England - 16.7