LESS people in Bracknell took their own life in 2018 compared with the year before, although the overall level has risen for the first time in years, new data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed.

In Bracknell, the highest amount of suicides which took place between 2002 - 2018 happened in 2011, where 14 died by suicide, compared with the lowest of one person in 2007.

Less people in Bracknell died by suicide in 2018 (five) compared to 2017 (12).

In Wokingham, there was also a small decrease in 2018 compatred with 2017.

The highest amount in the town took place in 2009, with 12 people dying by suicide.

Reading had the highest number of suicides from 2002 - 2018 compared with the four other Berkshire local authorities of West Berkshire, Bracknell, Wokingham, Slough and Windsor and Maidenhead.

Local Berkshire:

More people in Reading took their own life in 2018 compared with the year before, 

Figures broken down by local authority show that 13 people died by suicide in Reading in 2018, compared with five in 2017.

Data shows the figures from each year since 2002 across Berkshire.

For Reading, the highest amount of suicides took place in 2004, when 19 people in the area took their own life.

The least amount took place in 2017, with five people dying by suicide in the town.

Local Berkshire:

Regional breakdowns across the UK have shown that the level of suicides has risen for the first time in five years, to 11.2 deaths per 100,000 in the population.

Vicki Nash, head of Policy and Campaigns at mental health charity Mind, said: "It's worrying to see that the suicide rate has increased for the first time since 2013, and we need to understand the bigger picture behind the statistics.

"We lose several thousand people to suicide each year, and rates among young people and in particular young women seem to be on the rise.

"The reasons someone might choose to end their own life are many and complex, but what we’re sure of is that even one suicide is one too many.

"There is no room for complacency when it comes to promoting good mental health and preventing suicides.

"We know that a significant proportion of people who take their own lives have asked for support for their mental health within the last 12 months, which means that services are failing people when they need help the most.

"With more and more people coming forward, it’s absolutely crucial that services are equipped to meet the demand, and this cannot be lost among the current political turmoil."

Samaritans is launching a new policy and research programme which aims to improve understanding around self-harm and the support available to people who self-harm. The charity will be carrying out research directly with young people who have self-harmed and working closely with policy makers to address the link between self-harm and suicide.

Jacqui Morrissey, assistant director of Research and Influencing from Samaritans, said: “The introduction of self-harm to the national suicide prevention strategy was a positive step in the right direction and we’re pleased to see self-harming in young people recognised as a priority this year; however, the government still lacks a clear plan on how to reach those who self-harm, particularly young people and those who aren’t engaged with health services.

“The increase in self-harm amongst young people is extremely worrying and we need a better understanding of what’s causing this trend and how we reverse it.

"We also need more evidence on the link between self-harm and suicide, on effective ways to prevent self-harm, and how best to support those who self-harm.

"We will seek to address these evidence gaps with our own research programme.

"However, Samaritans is also calling for government to put in place and deliver ambitious and comprehensive local and national plans which prioritise initiatives to reduce rates of self-harm.

"Such initiatives must be properly resourced and available for everyone who needs them, leading to an increase in effective clinical and community services specifically designed for people who self-harm.

"Our report published earlier this year found that whilst many local suicide prevention plans in England included actions to prevent self-harm, only half were delivering these actions.

"Together, we need to ensure young people are aware of healthy coping mechanisms when they are struggling.

"Samaritans also wants to reduce the stigma around self-harm, so it’s not seen as the usual response to struggling, and to encourage people to seek help.

"Suicide prevention is everyone’s business and by addressing risk factors, such as self-harm, we can stop suicide rates from continuing to increase."

For confidential support in the UK, call the Samaritans on 116123, email jo@samaritans.org or visit a local Samaritans branch.

See samaritans.org for more details or go to papyrus-uk.org if you need support or advice.