Samaritans say poverty increases risk of suicide

10 March 2017

A new report from a charity says living in poverty increases the risk of suicide. The Samaritans’ report says suicide is affecting the most disadvantaged and vulnerable people in society.

They say men living in the most deprived areas, are up to ten times more at risk of suicide than those living in the most affluent areas.

Samaritans in Wales are calling for more organisations to work together.

Sarah Stone, Executive Director of Samaritans in Wales says, “Suicide is an inequality issue and it’s crucial that we begin to realise the implications of this.

“Every statistic is a person. People should not be at a higher risk of suicide because of their socioeconomic status.

“In Wales, between 300 and 350 people die from suicide each year. This is about 3 times the number killed in road accidents.

“While causes of suicide are complex, we do know that there are factors which increase the risk for specific groups and individuals.”

The Samaritans in Wales say improving the situation for people from lower income groups will save lives.

The Welsh mental heath charity Hafal says the benefits system is causing huge stress to people with mental health problems.

Charity worker Kay John-Williams says “People are saying ‘if I get knocked off my benefit, I may as well not be here any more. I’m not going to have any money. How will I live in my house? How will I buy food when I’m not well enough to work.”

Sian Shortman, who uses a Hafal service says, “People should be able to keep their benefits. They shouldn’t be worrying and stressing all the time and think they may be cut off because the person on the other side of the desk isn’t listening”.

Samaritans in Wales say a higher percentage of Welsh people live in poverty than the rest of the UK and that men are particularly affected.

They say they want more talking therapies for men and will be calling for further funding to be made available.


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