July 01, 2009

Bullying and suicide

Britain has one of the highest suicide rates in Europe. Each year in the UK over 5000 people take their life. The Samaritans estimate that in the UK there is a suicide every 82 minutes. The charity Depression Alliance estimates that each year there are around 19,000 suicide attempts by UK adolescents whilst more than 2 million children attend GP's surgeries with some kind of psychological or emotional problem.

Each day, two people under the age of 24 commit suicide. In 1997, 1757 young adult males committed suicide whilst only 412 females committed suicide. One reason is thought to be because males choose more lethal (and thus successful) methods of suicide such as hanging, shooting or jumping in front of a train. Around 200 people commit suicide by train every year, with another 50 killing themselves on the London underground. The death of Brian Drysdale at Ufton Nervet in Berkshire in November 2004 was believed to be a suicide. In the UK, suicide has taken over from road accidents as the number one cause of death for young adult males in the age range 18-24.

Suicide statistics show that in the UK at least 16 children kill themselves each year because they are being bullied at school and no-one in authority is doing anything about it. The number of adults who commit suicide because of bullying, harassment and violence is unknown, but my guess is that bullying is a factor in a significant number of these 5000 suicides.

The suicide rate for 18-24-year-old males has jumped from 58 deaths per million of population in 1974 to 170 deaths per million in 1997. In October 1999, the government reported that the number of young males who commit suicide each year in the UK had doubled over the last ten years. With the support of other organisations including the Football Association, the government announced a programme aiming to cut the suicide rate by at least 25% in 10 years. One of the problems of young male suicide identified was men's reluctance to confide their problems in others, even their peers.

In inner city areas, over 43% of children have considered suicide and one in six children under the age of 11 have attempted suicide. Common causes cited include bullying, abuse, poverty, homelessness, and alcohol abuse.

France also has a high suicide rate; each year there are around around 200,000 attempted suicides by 15-25-year-olds, including 40-60,000 suicide attempts serious enough to warrant hospitalisation, and around 800 successful suicides.

A UK Mental Health Foundation survey published in February 2001 revealed that half of university students showed signs of clinical anxiety whilst more than 10% suffered from clinical depression. Although specific causes are hard to identify, those most often cited include student loans and debt, bullying, constant academic expectations through tests and exams, plus the sudden pressures of being away from home.

From: http://www.bullyonline.org

No comments: