London suicide rate at a 30-year low

Despite rising suicide rates around the country, numbers within London are falling sharply

Suicide rates in London have fallen from the highest to the lowest in Britain within a generation, recent official figures reveal.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), there were 583 suicides in the capital in 2011, representing a 50% drop over 30 years.

The London Evening Standard reported that the figures are at odds with the results of the government’s happiness index, which finds levels of stress highest in London and a sense of wellbeing among the lowest.

The ONS figures show that in 1981, London had a suicide rate of 17.9 deaths per 100,000 of the population, by far the highest in the UK.

However, that rate has fallen steadily since, and by 2011 – the latest year for which figures are available – it had fallen to just 8.9 per 100,000.

It is not clear why the rate has fallen so sharply in London, but some researchers believe it is connected to the capital’s large non-white population. Suicide rates are particularly low among some ethnic groups, such as Bangladeshis.

Nationally there were 6,045 suicides in 2011, an increase of 437.