Suicide – The Numbers
In 2015, 529,655 deaths were registered in England and Wales. 6,188 suicides were registered in the same year. That means that over 1% of all deaths that occurred in the UK in 2015 were due to suicide. That means that in every 100 people who died in 2015 at least one died from suicide.
That is quite a high percentage, when you think about it. Higher than you’d imagined I expect.
That averages out to around 16 people a day successfully ending their own lives, in the UK alone. That means that every hour and a half somebody in the UK dies to suicide.
To break that down further, in 2015, 1,659 people between the ages of 10 – 35 died to suicide.
That equates to over 4 per day.
There is no other cause of death which kills this kind of number of people of this age group. Suicide is the largest killer of people under the age of 35 in the UK.
And this isn’t even the whole picture.
For a coroner to record cause of death as suicide they currently use the criminal standard of proof ‘beyond reasonable doubt’. However, suicide is not a criminal act and never should have been seen as one; it was decriminalised in 1961.
Continuing to use the criminal standard of proof not only perpetuates stigma, it is also masking the true numbers of suicides that are occurring in the UK. Having reliable statistics related to suicides is hugely important. It will have an impact on the importance that governments place on funding projects designed to tackle the issue. It will change the way cultures view suicides – from being tragic but rare and far removed events, to being a social issue that actively threatens them and their families. It will be seen as something worth talking about, thinking about, and putting significant time and money into dealing with.
According to the charity Papyrus, new research suggests that this standard of proof is masking the true number of suicides by 30 – 50%.
Papyrus are running a campaign to change the standard of proof in classifying suicide from the criminal standard ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ to the civil standard ‘the balance of probability’.
The numbers that relate to suicide are already shocking. Behind every number is a person who has needlessly died and a family who have needlessly suffered. But we cannot choose to hide from these numbers: we as a society need to recognise them and we and our government need to take responsibility for them. Then we need to change things.
If you would like to support Papyrus’s campaign please follow this link: https://papyrus-uk.org/about/our-campaigns/campaign-to-change-the-law
Statistics on this page were taken from the Office for National Statistics and Papyrus UK.
The Cooking – Greg’s Nachos
We recently had Greg’s friends over to mark what would have been his 23rd birthday. It was a day we couldn’t simply let pass, yet we couldn’t exactly celebrate. Like the anniversary of his death it was made easier by hosting an event in his honour. That way you can occupy your mind with making plans, and you stave off some of your anxiety around what you’re going to do and how you’re going to feel. You have a plan: you have a focus.
Unlike the anniversary of his death we didn’t intend on feeding people. The plan was loosely based around the idea that we’d walk to a pub: food options would be there, or things would fizzle out and people would feed themselves properly when they went home. Neither happened, plenty of booze followed, the night was a very late and blurry one, and I think we’ll be tweaking our plan next year to involve a little more sustenance and plenty of carbohydrates!
We did lay on some snacks (though nowhere near enough): Greg’s very own Nachos!
The recipe goes something like this: Open bag of crisps. Scatter crisps in oven tray. Scatter ready-made salsa over the crisps. Cover in grated cheese. Put in the oven. Serve with refried beans if you wish.
What’s not to love!