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Midweek Mindset

Suicide rate among UK men at lowest since 1981

September 5, 2018

By: Jenna Rachid, Eloise Cadman and Alex Youngs

Suicide rate among UK men at lowest since 1981

Suicide rates among men in the UK are at their lowest in 30 years.

Official figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that in 2017 4,383 men took their own lives at the rate was 15.5 per 100,000 men – down from 20 in the late 1980s.

According to the BBC men still account for three-quarters of suicides in the UK.

The Chief Executive of the Samaritans, Ruth Sutherland stated that figures were ‘encouraging’ but ‘every death was still one too many’.

‘We believe that the focus in recent years on suicide prevention to tackle the higher rates in men has contributed to this.’

‘Added to this, reducing stigma around men’s mental health and encouraging men to open up and seek help when they are struggling has been beneficial,’ Sutherland added.

The data collected by the ONS also found that men aged 45 to 49 are the age group with the highest rate of suicide.

Sutherland said: ‘We must all continue to target expertise and resources at preventing men from taking their own lives and to reduce suicide across the board.’

‘We need to work harder at understanding who is taking their own lives and why, and what support and interventions work to save lives.’

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 Children forced to travel hundreds of miles for mental health treatment

Under 18s are travelling up to 285 miles for mental health treatment due to bed shortages.

According to The Guardian, ‘1,039 children and adolescents in England were admitted to a non-local bed in 2017-18, in many cases more than 100 miles from home, figures collated by NHS England show.’ Many of these young people had complex mental health problems, such as depression, psychosis and personality disorders.

Barbara Keeley, MP and Shadow Cabinet Minister for Mental Health and Social Care, said: ‘All the evidence shows that out-of-area placements jeopardise the recovery of people with mental health conditions. It is heartbreaking that parents, worried for their children, will be miles away because of the government’s failure.’

In Canterbury patients were send 285 miles for mental health care, in Cornwall and the isles of Scilly under 18s travelled 285 miles and individuals in Bristol were sent 243 miles away for treatment, The Guardian reports.

The Department of Health and Social Care addressed the findings, stating: ‘It is completely unacceptable for patients to be sent away from their family and friends for treatment. That’s why the NHS is opening more specialist beds to tackle this and we have committed to ending inappropriate placements altogether by 2020.’

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Are doctors receiving mental health support?

There are concerns that some medical professionals in England are unable to get the help they need.

According to the BBC, ‘figures from the Office for National Statistics, covering England, showed between 2011 and 2015, 430 mental health professionals took their own lives.’

26-year-old junior doctor Sophie Spooner suffered a panic attack working on a paediatric ward, within 24 hours she had taken her own life.

The NHS Practitioner Health Programme (PHP) is currently ‘the only confidential services that offers doctors a range of assessments, treatment and case-management for all mental health problems.’ Doctors can only self-refer if they work in London, without telling their Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). Others can access the service, but must do so through their local CCG, which means losing their anonymity.

The Medical Director of PHP, Dr Clare Gerada, said: ‘Doctors are at an incredibly high risk for mental health illness.’

Gerada told the BBC, one of the biggest issues that effects doctors are complaints from the public, it can ‘shatter their sense of self.’

Sophie Spooner’s death came two months after she received a complaint.

Dr Gerada says the acknowledgement of doctors mental health problems is the ‘last taboo in the NHS.’

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Three people are sectioned in Northern Ireland each week

Over the past five years more than 1,000 people have been sectioned in Northern Ireland under the 1986 Mental Health Order.

According to the Belfast Telegraph, there were 1,010 compulsory admissions to mental health hospitals in 2012/13.

The figures published by the Department of Health also revealed 47% of people admitted were aged 18-45 during 2017/18.

The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) spokesmen, Mark H Durkan, told the Belfast Telegraph that his constituency had been particularly affected by the mental health crisis, stating it was the ‘single biggest issue’ in the area.’

‘It is an issue which begins with young people in schools and youth groups. Even with older people. It is actually the thing that people raise with me. It is a great thing that people are talking about it, it shows the stigma is being chipped away.’

‘It is reflected in an increase in demand for services but that is not matched by an increase in support for mental health services,’ Durkan added.

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In case you missed it…

Scottish football team helps kids with mental health– Aberdeen Football Club, Grassroots Soccer and Aberdeen FC Community Trust (AFCCT) are partnering to teach children about mental health.

A theatre company is addressing mental health – The All in Mind Festival is an annual event run by Fluid Motion theatre company, that seeks to bring mental health into the conversation.

Inverness charity providing activities to help mental health – Inverness charity, ActivNess, is using its new premises to provide physical activities to help mental health sufferers.