Researcher says mental health services need to be made more 'attractive' and accessible to men
With the 2013 suicide figures released today, Professor Shirley Reynolds, Director of the University of Reading's Charlie Waller Institute for Evidence-Based Psychological Treatment, provides comment:
"The rise in UK suicides is sadly not surprising. Depression is closely linked to suicide, and while evidence based treatment for depression is now more available in England thanks to the NHS training over 10,000 extra clinical staff, only about 15% of those with depression and anxiety seek help. A damning statistic.
"Male suicides rates continue to be over 3x to that of women. This is particularly striking and we should see it as a wake-up call. Effective treatment for depression exists but in general men are a minority of those seeking treatment for depression in the NHS.
"This could be because they are less willing or able to identify problems such as depression - or that they are less willing to ask for help. We know that men, on average, do not use the NHS for physical health problems as readily as women. Mental health and psychological therapy services need to be made more 'attractive' and accessible to men.
"A key factor associated with suicide is unemployment. Unemployment and depression and suicide go hand in hand. Suicide rates may also reflect local economic conditions which could explain some of the regional variation.
"Mental health as a whole needs to be taken more seriously. Public donations to mental health are not in the same ball park when it comes to cancer or heart disease. A significant investment in research, combined with a rethink on how treatment is offered, is required if we are going to tackle depression and suicide effectively."