Suicide (health and wellbeing needs in South Tyneside)


Suicide is a public health concern. Nationally the number of people who take their own lives has been reducing in recent years. Nevertheless, in England, one person dies every two hours from suicide.[1]

Suicides are not inevitable; they are preventable.[2] Suicide is often the end point of a complex pattern of risk factors and distressing events, and the prevention of suicide has to address this complexity. There are many things that can be done in communities, outside hospital and care settings, to help those who think the only option is to end their own life.

Definition of suicide

A Coroner will only record a verdict of suicide if there is evidence beyond reasonable doubt that the injury was self-inflicted and that the deceased intended to take their own life. If the Coroner believes the evidence of suicide is not proven beyond reasonable doubt, or there is doubt about the deceased's intentions, then an open verdict will be recorded.

The ONS (Office for National Statistics) produces mortality data from death registrations. Where an open verdict is recorded these are generally coded by the ONS as deaths from injury or poisoning of undetermined intent. In presenting statistics about suicide, figures due to suicide are usually combined with those coded as due to injury of undetermined intent (Statistical Update on Suicide, January 2014, Department of Health).

In presenting this data, three year rolling averages are usually used to try to compensate to annual fluctuations due to small numbers.