Five times more men than women took their own lives in Leeds over six-year period

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THE latest report on suicides in Leeds has revealed that five times more men than women took their own lives in the city for the second three-year period in a row.

Of the 205 Leeds residents who took their own lives between 2014 and 2016, a total of 171 (83 per cent) were male, compared to 34 female - according to a new report released on World Suicide Prevention Day today (Sept 10).

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The overall number of suicides by Leeds residents is down from the 213 recorded in the three-year period from 2011 to 2013.

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A total of 176 (83 per cent) were male, compared to 37 female during that period.

The ratio of 5:1 males to females who took their own lives in Leeds between 2014 and 2016 contrasts starkly to a ratio of 3:1 nationally.

The most common age groups was 40-49 for men and 30 to 39 for women, similar to previous audits.

The figures were released by Leeds City Council as the local authority revealed its latest audit of suicides in Leeds.

The study is used to inform citywide suicide prevention work, helping target support and investment where it is most needed.

The latest audit found that single, separated or divorced men aged 40 to 65 living alone are at the highest risk of suicide in Leeds.

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Other risk factors include lack of employment, relationship problems, a history of mental health diagnosis and a history of drug/alcohol misuse.

In common with previous audits, the 2014 to 2016 audit showed that 30 per cent of all suicides in Leeds happened in the most deprived 20 per cent of the city.

Of the 31 postcodes where suicides were recorded in Leeds, half of all individuals lived in just seven: LS6, LS8, LS9, LS11, LS12, LS15 and LS28.

Last year Leeds City Council’s leader Coun Judith Blake, committed funding to suicide prevention, particularly for support work with men in areas of the city with higher rates of suicide the main beneficiaries.

Coun Rebecca Charlwood, chair of Leeds Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “Suicide prevention continues to be a priority in Leeds, with every death a tragedy.

"Work done across the city by NHS and council employees, excellent third sector organisations and a whole range of individuals is making a difference.

"Stigma around mental health, depression and stress is being tackled, opening doors for people to talk about how they feel and seek help when they need it.

“As with the rest of the UK, suicide is one of the biggest causes of death affecting men under 50.

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"Every death is a tragedy and I believe suicide is not inevitable. We all have a role we can play to help save the lives of those with suicidal thoughts.”

Dr Ian Cameron, Leeds City Council Director of Public Health, said: “Providing evidence-based preventative interventions is at the heart of public health, saving lives and reducing ill-health.

"This audit allows us to make interventions and offer support where it is most needed.

"We also know there people at risk of suicide who don’t fit the typical profile, and so we want everyone to be more aware that suicide is preventable and there is a wide range of support available.”

Anyone wanting advice can contact:

Samaritans: 08457 90 90 90

Leeds Suicide Bereavement Service: 0113 260 9328.

Details of many services which can help are on a free poster available to download at www.leeds.gov.uk/docs/CrisisCard.pdf