study of suicide by black and ethnic minority people launched
by Mike Andrews
Two university research teams plan to find methods to reduce the
rate of suicide by black and ethnic minority people by launching
the biggest UK review of its kind.
part of the government's target to reduce suicide rates by a fifth
by 2010, the department of health and the national institute for
mental health in England (NIMHE) produced, in 2002, a national suicide
strategy appears to have made good progress. Last month, a government
report showed the overall death rate from suicide between 2001-03
fell to 8.6 deaths per 100,000 population. This marks a reduction
of 6% from 1995-7 of 9.2 deaths per 100,000.
black and ethnic minority groups are not targeted specifically,
and researchers say there is little accurate and contemporary data
available on the risk of suicide in different ethnic groups in the
is due, in part, to the fact that British death certificates do
not record any details of an individual's racial or cultural identity.
It remains unclear who is at increased risk, and why.
The new study - by researchers at Queen Mary, University of London
and University College London - plans to analyse data from a range
of sources, identifying key risk areas, and developing culturally
specific approaches to reduce the rate of suicide in ethnic groups.
Professor Kamaldeep Bhui, joint lead researcher on the project,
said. "Although mental health is a government priority, it's
vital to ensure that any policy or mental health strategy is relevant
to all citizens and that all ethnic groups benefit from such work.
"We're hoping to get the best picture we've ever had of suicide
risk factors in black and ethnic minority groups. This will help
support the national suicide prevention policies and strategy."
The study is being carried out in conjunction with Dr Kwame McKenzie
of the Royal Free University College London Medical School.
The pair are asking all researchers and institutions in the UK with
data on suicide or attempted suicide in ethnic minorities to contact
will reanalyse the data to investigate social, psychological, economic
and geographical risk factors for suicide in ethnic groups. They
say this information is vital for policy development.
In the UK there are approximately 5000 suicides per year, and considerably
more deaths from suicide than from road traffic accidents.
5,000 people take their own lives in England every year and suicide
is the most common cause of death in men under 35.
In all countries, suicide is now one of the three leading causes
of death among people aged 15 - 34 years; until recently, suicide
was predominating among the elderly, but in a third of all countries
suicide now predominates in younger people.
The male suicide rate is higher than the rate for females.
24, 2005: Lowest suicide rate for young men for nearly 20 years,
says government report
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