Preston revealed as UK’s capital for suicide

New figures, released by the Office for National Statistics, have revealed that Preston has the highest suicide rate in the UK.

According to the study, there was an average of 18.6 suicides between 2012–2014 to 100,000 population. England’s average is at 10.o — a significant difference.

So, what is causing all these suicides in Preston? Is it just a coincidence? Or is there an underlying reason why people in Preston are more likely to commit suicide?

Friargate Street, just outside St. George’s Shopping Centre (Photo credits: Amy Vieira)

Public Health England released Preston’s Health Profile in June 2015, which could give some clues as to what is causing so many people to end their lives in this particular part of England.

The study reports on some very worrying statistics for this town: in terms of adult health, in 2012, the rate of alcohol related hospital stays was 701 per 100,000 population, the rate of self-harm hospital stays was 248.8 and the rate of smoking related deaths was 327 — and all of these are generally worse than England’s average.

Looking deeper into the Health Profile, statistics for deprivation are revealed: Preston’s average is significantly worse than England’s. Could this be one of the reasons that contributes to so many people committing suicide in this town?

In an article published online by ‘The Atlantic’, they suggest that big cities tend to be “happier”: the social interaction available in a big city provides many opportunities to socialise and share experiences with others, and it also offers variety when it comes to types of jobs available, the ability to find a new social group to be a part of and a higher number of mental health facilities available.

So, could the fact that Preston is a relatively small town be one of the reasons that people decide to finish it all?

The real reason behind these horrifying statistics is, and perhaps will always be, unknown. One person who committed suicide would surely not have done it for the same reason as someone else, so regardless of what could be behind someone’s final decision, it’s clear that some questions should be asked.

At least 90% of all people who commit suicide suffer from mental disorders like depression, bipolarity, schizophrenia or alcoholism, according to a report published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Is there enough support out there for these people? A suicidal person will most likely not admit that they need help, but that doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t gladly take it — suicidal people don’t really want to die, they just want to stop hurting inside. So, is enough being done to insure people that help is available out there?

There are several helplines available, but someone suicidal won’t always take the initiative in seeking help. Maybe people need to be taught how to understand suicide, how to look for warning signs and, finally, how to prevent suicide. This could be one way of helping to decrease the suicide rate in the long run, not just in Preston but everywhere.

Like Charles Dickens very famously said: “No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”