Suicide Facts and Statistics

Across the world, as well as specifically in the UK, suicide remains one of the main contributors to the overall number of deaths per year.

Globally, there are over 700,000 deaths due to suicide every year, and many thousands more who attempt it (1).

In 2021, the UK reported over 5,583 deaths as a result of suicide (2), equating to 10 deaths per 100,000 people. Though this number is significantly statistically lower than the previous years in record, there has been a consistent increase over time.

No matter where or when suicide can have a devastating impact on those who are affected. Friends, family, communities, and sometimes countries can be afflicted by suicide and the problems it can bring, often having long-lasting effects.

There are many reasons why someone may consider suicide, a few of which will be explored later in this article, but in the modern world, these reasons are becoming more and more numerous.

Generally, people are currently experiencing some of the highest levels of stress and pressure in their lives.

With current events, global crises, and personal day-to-day issues, there has never been such attention or focus on suicide treatment and prevention.

Across the UK, there are thousands of support providers as well as treatment programmes to aid those who need it most. If you or someone you know is affected by or considering suicide, there has never been a better time to start a new strategy.

Why is suicide such a modern threat?

As mentioned in the previous paragraph, the field of suicide has never had such an impact on society or as much attention in the media as it does at the time of writing.

With more understanding and research into relevant topics such as mental health and personal wellbeing, the support available is more populous than ever.

But why might someone need this support?

Here are some of the main reasons:

  • Mental health – this is perhaps the most stereotypical reason why someone may consider suicide. Especially if previous attempts have been made to seek help, an individual may feel as if there is nowhere else to turn.
  • Seasonal changes/daylight duration – also known as seasonal affective disorder, life in the darker months (less daylight time) can cause serious mental health effects including an increased risk of suicide around the ‘winter’ months (3).
  • Current events – including recent phenomena such as economic recessions, individuals can feel overwhelmed, ashamed, or as though they’ve hit bottom with many of their day-to-day responsibilities.
  • Social media/media coverage – certainly more of an issue in the modern world, social media has had a huge effect on the population, especially younger people. This often leads to increased pressure to appear in a certain way as well as the risk of cyberbullying – an occurrence known to increase suicide ideation in young adolescents (4).
  • Alcohol/drug use – this has long been cited as a cause for suicide due to the feelings of hopelessness and the cognitive changes associated with substance dependency (5).

This list is not extensive in terms of what may lead to suicide, but it highlights just a few of some of the most common reasons.

What can lead to suicide?

As the previous paragraph has described, there are many reasons why a person may consider suicide.

For example, a meta-analysis showed that over 80% of individuals who died due to suicide suffered from some form of mental disorder. This ranged from substance abuse, such as described above, but also included other mental factors such as personality disorders and childhood trauma (6).

Although these are described as ‘causes’ of suicide, it is not to say that every individual suffering from these disorders is therefore likely to commit suicide. In cases where an individual feels at risk, further help should be sought.

Mental health is often thought to be the main cause of suicide due to the associated emotions someone may experience when suffering from a mental health issue.

For example, the feelings of hopelessness and emptiness associated with depression are some of the main reasons why someone justifies a suicide attempt.

There are also some differences across suicide rates in terms of ethnicity.

Across all suicide statistics, white males are shown to make up the highest number of deaths compared to other ethnicities and genders, though Black African men had the highest rates of suicide (7).

Though the reasons are not fully explored yet, there is more and more research being conducted into the area of causes of suicide.

In all situations, individuals considering suicide or who have been affected by suicide are welcome to contact OK Rehab on 0800 326 5559 to discuss any thoughts or problems they may have experienced or are currently experiencing.

Providing support to those who may be thinking about suicide

If you know of someone who may be thinking about suicide or are caring for someone with their consent, then it can often be difficult to know how to support this individual.

With such a sensitive topic, approaching it can seem challenging without aggravating any unwanted behaviours or conversations.

Below are some helpful tips to keep in mind:

1.      Start a conversation

Though this is not suitable in every situation, talking to the individual about what they are experiencing is the first step to showing that you are there to support them. Helping them to speak about how they are feeling, how they would like others to treat them, and anything they can do to help are great topics to start with.

2.      Be open and listen to what they say

If the individual approaches you, this can seem like a lot of pressure. However, if you are ready and willing to provide support then there are several things to keep in mind. This individual has come to you as a trusted source, meaning that you should take everything they say seriously, remember it, and ask for clarification where needed or appropriate.

3.      Prepare for all situations

Whether this is being ready for a serious conversation or knowing emergency contact numbers, being prepared for a range of situations can put your own mind at ease, as well as the individual affected.

4.      Be mindful of yourself

Helping someone else with a mental disorder, especially one such as thoughts of suicide, is tough on the individual, but also on the person providing help. Remaining strong, putting on a brave face, and constantly worrying about their wellbeing are all parts of providing care. In these cases, it’s important to remember your own personal health and seek additional help where needed.

These top tips demonstrate just a few of the ways you can support someone considering suicide, but there are endless ways that you as an individual can help someone else.

For more information or support, please contact OK Rehab on 0800 326 5559.

Types of care people experience when dealing with suicide

If an individual agrees to and enters further rehabilitative care, there are a few treatments or programmes that they can expect to see.

The range of treatments available will not be the same across treatment centres or outpatient resource providers, but there are a few common tools, methods, and courses that can be taken the help someone overcome their struggles with suicide.

The most common and often the ‘first port of call’ for helping someone who has considered suicide is therapy. This can come in many forms such as individual or group therapy sessions, but the results are often highly successful.

Based on the idea of helping the individual to work on their personal problems and create coping techniques, therapy is recommended to almost all patients, working alongside other rehabilitation activities and programmes.

For example, there are many support groups that individuals can attend, even without a formal diagnosis or referral from a doctor.

Sharing experiences with others, as well as listening to theirs helps combat many of the negative emotions associated with suicidal thoughts such as loneliness and isolation.

In addition, many support providers also allow for family therapy and training.

This allows for those affected by the individual to come to terms with these issues, as well as helping them to understand more about the problems their loved one faces.

By understanding these issues more, and being able to provide support in this way, moving on from thoughts of and recovering from suicide are far more likely.

Finding help and support

In all cases of individuals considering suicide or having suicidal thoughts, help is available from many different sources.

There are benefits and drawbacks to each type of care, though the main sources are described briefly below:

  • Council-funded treatment – this is probably the first source of care that many people identify and choose to progress down. Often free of charge and convenient, this can be a good choice for some individuals. However, accessing consistent care with the same therapist, and getting the help you need when you need it can be rare.
  • Private residential treatment – though this is typically seen as an incredibly expensive option, private care has far more benefits. With immediate access to residential centres available, individuals can enjoy comfortable accommodation, expertly trained staff, and treatment programmes at the forefront of suicide treatment research. In terms of cost, private residential centres have the highest staff to patient ratio, meaning that the level of care is the most cost-effective available.

For other choices of treatment, individuals have the choice of outpatient or inpatient care.

Outpatient care refers to part-time treatment such as attending weekly group therapy sessions in the local area or meeting with an individual counsellor. This is more appropriate for those who have a shorter history of suicidal thoughts or who have been less affected.

Most of these services can be accessed through local services or by contacting OK Rehab.

Inpatient care refers to attending a private rehab centre for full-time supported care. This is appropriate for those who have more severe suicidal thoughts or may have a history of attempts and therefore require round-the-clock care.

This type of care is more difficult to access through local services, and it is recommended to speak with a member of the OK Rehab team to learn more about the options available.

To learn more about suicide and the facts associated with it check out the infographic that goes with the article, as well as looking at our other pages to learn more about how to get help.




[3] Retamal C, P. and Humphreys, D., 1998. Occurrence of suicide and seasonal variation. Revista de saude publica, 32, pp.408-412.

[4] Hinduja, S. and Patchin, J.W., 2010. Bullying, cyberbullying, and suicide. Archives of suicide research14(3), pp.206-221.

[5] Miller, N.S., Mahler, J.C. and Gold, M.S., 1991. Suicide risk associated with drug and alcohol dependence. Journal of addictive diseases10(3), pp.49-61.

[6] Arsenault-Lapierre, G., Kim, C. and Turecki, G., 2004. Psychiatric diagnoses in 3275 suicides: a meta-analysis. BMC psychiatry4(1), pp.1-11.

[7] Bhui, K.S., Dinos, S. and McKenzie, K., 2012. Ethnicity and its influence on suicide rates and risk. Ethnicity & health17(1-2), pp.141-148.