In 2018, a total of 6,507 suicides were registered in the UK, 686 more deaths than in 2017 when there were 5,821 deaths (11.8% increase). This equates to a statistically significant increase in the suicide rate, with 11.2 deaths per 100,000 population in 2018, compared with 10.1 deaths per 100,000 population in 2017.
Following several years of decline, the latest UK suicide rate has increased to the level seen when it previously peaked in 2013 (11.1 deaths per 100,000). Suicide rates tend to fluctuate on a year-to-year basis. It is therefore too early to say whether the latest increase represents a change in the recent trend.
The factors behind any increase in suicide rates are complex. However, as detailed in Section 3, Things you need to know about this release, a change in the standard of proof used by coroners may have affected the latest figures. The latest provisional figures for England (2019 registrations for Quarters 1 and 2), which are subject to change and not finalised, show similarly elevated levels of registrations in the first half of 2019.
UK male suicide rate increased significantly in 2018
Males continue to account for three-quarters of suicide deaths in 2018 (4,903 male deaths compared with 1,604 female deaths). The latest increase in the overall UK rate appears to be largely driven by males: in 2018, the rate was 17.2 deaths per 100,000 males, up significantly from the lowest observed rate in the previous year (15.5 deaths per 100,000). Despite being higher, the latest rate among females in 2018 (5.4 deaths per 100,000 females) was not found to be statistically different to that observed in the previous year (4.9 deaths per 100,000).
Source: Office for National Statistics 3rd September 2019