Samaritans’ boss welcomes low suicide rates for Stevenage

Stevenage had the lowest suicide rate of any local authortiy area in the UK in 2014

Stevenage had the lowest suicide rate of any local authortiy area in the UK in 2014 - Credit: Getty Images/BananaStock RF

Fewer people in Stevenage took their own lives in 2014 compared to any other part of the UK, new figures reveal.

Statistics released by the Office for National Statistics last week show Stevenage had the lowest suicide rate of any local authority area in the UK in 2014 with just two suicides.

In 2013 the rate was even lower ,with just one person in the borough registered as having taken their own life.

Compared to other areas of the country this figure has remained low in recent years with four suicides in 2012, two in 2011 and five in 2010.

The only time it has reached double figures in the last 13 years was in 2003 when there were ten suicides.

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The highest number of suicides anywhere in the UK in 2014 was Birmingham with 138.

The Stevenage figures compare favorably with North Hertfordshire with 12 suicides listed for 2014, four in 2013 and six in 2012. The rate in the district has hit double figures four times in 2002, 2008, 2010 and 2014 when there were 11, 15, 11 and 12 suicides respectively.

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Leigh Grigson, director of North Herts Samaritans said: “It’s pleasing because it’s quite a deprived area, it’s good to hear the figures are quite low. It’s usually the case that people who come from more deprived areas are more likely to take their own lives as financial difficulties can be a real problem.

“It makes us that feel that the work we are doing is making a positive difference.”

Ms Grigson said North Herts Samaritans has focused more on Stevenage in recent years with volunteers setting up awareness stalls at the railway station and at the Lister Hospital and taking part in ‘Crucial Crew’ sessions in schools along with members of the emergency services.

She added: “We deal with people who are in distress so hopefully we can catch people before they get to the suicidal stage. We aim to get our message out as much as we can.” Anyone who feels they need emotional support can call North Herts Samaritans on 116123.

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