In 1981, 2,466 women in the UK took their own lives. Three decades later the number in 2012 had almost halved to 1,391 (ONS: Suicides in the United Kingdom, 1981 to 2012). In contrast, in 1981, 4,129 men in the UK took their own lives. Three decades later the number in 2012 had risen to 4,590. The next year, 2013, the number of male suicides had risen again to 4,858 whilst the number for women reduced slightly to 1,375 (Samaritans: Suicide in the UK 2013). Males are now 78% of suicides, women 22%.

UK Suicides Versus Year

UK Suicides v Year

Suicides are most common in the 40 – 50 age range.

UK Suicide Rate Per 100,000  Versus Age

UK Suicide rate v age

Data for England & Wales

In England and Wales in 2012 there were 3,740 male suicides and 1,101 female suicides. For 2013, the ONS Excel file Death Registration Summary Tables, 2013 under the heading “intentional self-harm and event of undetermined intent” lists 4035 male deaths and 1123 female deaths (78% male).

Hence, suicide is an order of magnitude more common than homicide.

The number of suicides is at least 53 times greater than the number of partner homicides.

Prison Suicide

It is in men’s prisons that suicide truly peaks. Between January 2013 and 2 October 2014, 130 men and 4 women killed themselves in prison. In financial year 2013/14 there were 88 self-inflicted deaths in UK prisons. For men this amounts to a rate of about 93 per 100,000, more than six times the UK average. The 2013/14 data indicate that the suicide rate in UK men’s prisons is the highest for many years. Ministry of Justice figures show that whilst deaths are up in men’s jails they are down in women’s facilities.


For a discussion of how research funds are deflected away from the prime suicide victims, men, see here. This also includes some information on attempted suicide by gender.

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