Men at much higher risk than women of committing suicide in North Somerset

PUBLISHED: 07:00 11 June 2019 | UPDATED: 10:06 13 June 2019

Will you sign the pledge for World Suicide Prevention Day? Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Will you sign the pledge for World Suicide Prevention Day? Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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Twice as many men have taken their own lives than women in North Somerset in recent years, new figures reveal.

Public Health England data shows that there were 39 cases of suicide among men in North Somerset between 2015 and 2017, the latest period for which data is available.

This makes the male suicide rate for the area around 14.9 in every 100,000 men, compared to approximately six in every 100,000 women.

However, the proportions have dropped steadily since 2010-12, when the male suicide rate was around 19 in every 100,000 and about nine in every 100,000 for women.

Mental health charity the Campaign Against Living Miserably said toxic stereotypes about masculinity, which lead men to bottle up their emotions, are linked to high suicide rates.

Discussions about male mental health have become increasingly prominent in recent years, with high-profile figures such as the Duke of Cambridge speaking on the issue.

Across England, there were13,512 male suicides from 2015-17, compared to just 4,462 female suicides.

Simon Gunning, chief executive of CALM, said suicide remained the single biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK, with an average of 84 men taking their own lives in every week.

He said: "As a society we often conflate strength and stoicism - our research has told us that 84 per cent of men bottle up their emotions - and this can be incredibly damaging.

"There is still a stigma surrounding male mental health and suicide, but we're moving in the right direction.

"More people than ever are contacting CALM and accessing our services and, following our call to the Government last year, the UK's first Minister for Suicide Prevention was appointed. The wheels are in motion but there's a long way to go."

Gregor Henderson, from Public Health England, said: "Every suicide is a tragedy - it's important that those at higher risk, including middle-aged men experiencing problems, receive the right support.

"We have worked with authorities to ensure every area has a suicide prevention plan and are leading work nationally to prevent poor mental health, reduce suicide rates and improve the quality of life for people living with mental illness."

Anyone struggling can call the Samaritans on 116123.

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