Compare and take action to cut your area’s suicide risk

We are calling on government, councils and the NHS to use our new suicide risk map to support mentally healthier communities.

Our researchers joined forces with the Zero Suicide Alliance to map suicide risks across England’s regions and local authority areas.

We created the map by comparing rates of poverty, bullying and nine other risks associated with suicidal thoughts, attempts and completions.

People can see how their region and local authority area compares as part of an effort to drive awareness and actions to reduce risks.

The map links to an accompanying document setting out evidence-based and informed actions to reduce all 11 of the risks we have identified.

These risk factors were selected by experienced Mental Health Foundation researchers to be:

  • Relevant: factors known to be related to an increased risk of suicide or suicidal ideation
  • Recent: data relating to the risk is no more than five years old
  • Actionable: factors must be influenceable by local action
  • Available: data relating to the risk must be comprehensive, available publicly and at local authority level

These 11 risks identified fall into three main categories:

Employment and income

  • Fuel poverty
  • Job quality
  • Unemployment benefit claimants

Children and young people

  • Bullying prevalence
  • Children in need due to abuse or neglect
  • Children in Care

Mental health and substance misuse

  • Emergency admissions for international self-harm
  • Depression prevalence
  • Severe mental illness prevalence
  • Prevalence of opiate and/or crack cocaine use
  • Admissions for alcohol-related conditions

Primarily using the Public Health England Fingertips Suicide Prevention Profiles we then collated scores for these 11 indicators and then used the composite numbers to compare risk between England’s nine regions and then between local authorities within each region.

These 11 indicators have one factor common to all: poverty is the most important risk and drives worse outcomes in all categories including overall suicide rates. If you as an individual, organisation or tier of government take only one action from the many suggested below do everything you can to ‘level up’ the most deprived. Actions suggested include supporting the creation of more genuinely Living Wage jobs, using public sector budgets to buy more local goods and services and providing better welfare advice.

The Covid-19 crisis is causing significant economic harm, increased alcohol use, trauma and domestic abuse – problems reflected in the risks we have mapped and therefore, if anything, their relevance has been heightened. 

Suggested actions, based on a literature review of evidence-based and informed interventions, are principally aimed at local and central government and NHS bodies, but everyone can have a role to play in making them happen.

Suicide risk map

Seek help for yourself

If you yourself are feeling like ending your life, please call 999 or go to A&E and ask for the contact of the nearest crisis resolution team. These are teams of mental health care professionals who work with people in severe distress.

Other sources of help include:

  • Samaritans offer a 24-hours a day, 7 days a week support service. Call them FREE on 116 123. You can also email [email protected]
  • Papyrus is a dedicated service for people up to the age of 35 who are worried about how they are feeling or anyone concerned about a young person. You can call the HOPElineUK number on 0800 068 4141, text 07786 209697 or email [email protected]
  • NHS Choices is a 24-hour national helpline providing health advice and information. Call them free on 111. 
  • CALM have a national helpline for men to talk about any troubles they are feeling. Call 0800 58 58 58.
  • Support After Suicide Partnership offers practical and emotional support on their website for people bereaved and affected by suicide.