Experts

Suicide rate for young women highest for 20 years as experts warn of mental health crisis

Suicide among women in their early twenties is at its highest level in two decades, ONS figures show, as experts warn of a mental health crisis among young women who struggle with the pressures of modern life and social media.

While the overall figures for Great Britain show rates are at a seven-year low, women aged between 20 and 24 are increasingly likely to die by suicide. 

Last year 106 deaths by suicide were recorded among this age group, the first time the number is been more than 100 since 1992, when it was 111. At 5.2 the rate per 100,000 women in this age group is the highest it has been since 1998, when it was 5.7.

Jenny Edwards CBE, chief executive of the Mental Health Foundation, called the figures “troubling”. 

“We know that particularly for young women their rate of poor mental health is three times that of their male contemporaries.

“Something is going on – social media use is one part but another is relationships between the sexes. They’ve got a lot more insecurity in their lives than their parents did. 

“There’s a tendency to blame ourselves if things aren’t working out for us. Particularly if the message we’re getting from social media is that everyone else is living fantastic lives, has got good holidays, and good jobs. That’s a fairytale that can affect our overall mental health.”

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