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Increase in Suicides Among Young British Women Serves as Wake-Up Call

Mental health among young women deserves more attention, as it always has. Yet another wake-up call has recently emerged, as the number of suicides among young women in Britain last year rose above 100 for the first time since 1992. Recent findings reported by The Telegraph show that suicide among young British women is the highest it has been in over 20 years, with a new annual record of 106 deaths resulting from suicide in the age group of 20 to 24 years old.

According to “Mental Health and Wellbeing in England,” a 2014 survey conducted by the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), one in six adults in England report mental illnessone in five women, and one in eight men. The report notes that the rate of mental illness in women has increased over the years, while that of men remains steady.

Young women have emerged as a high-risk group, with high rates of [mental illness], self-harm, and positive screens for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and bipolar disorder. The gap between young women and young men increased.” As young men gradually showed less engagement in related unhealthy habits, such as drug dependency, young women did not reflect the same improvement.

In 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that suicide was the second greatest cause of death among adolescents from ages 15 to 19 and that approximately 800,000 people in the world die every year from suicide. Suicide prevention is urgent on the international level, not just within the United Kingdom. World Suicide Prevention Day took place just a week ago on September 10th and is organized annually by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and WHO. September as a whole is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, according to the American National Alliance on Mental Illness.

With each day-long or month-long event comes a heightened focus on spreading awareness about suicide, ending the stigmatization of the subject, and sharing the stories and resources that can be used to help those with suicidal intentions or feelings.

The website of the National Alliance on Mental Illness features a list of warning signs for those who might know someone considering suicide; the list includes social withdrawal, aggressive behavior, dramatic mood swings, and increased alcohol or drug use. The same page also notes that 90 percent of suicides are committed by individuals who experienced mental illness, but that there are other factors that may put someone at risk for suicide, such as a recent tragedy or substance abuse. Other helpful pages on the website include Preventing Suicide as a Family Member or Caregiver, Being Prepared For A Crisis, and links to self-help programs such as the Wellness Recovery Action Plan.

If you or someone you know is ever in a suicide-related emergency, please call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

Featured Image by Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet on Flickr

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