Institute of Health & Society

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Dying from inequality: Socioeconomic disadvantage and suicidal behaviour

Friday, 10 March saw the launch in London of the Samaritans new report on suicide and inequalities as well as a new phone line to help people in need.

Prof Clare Bambra and Dr Joanne Cairns of the Institute of Health and Society, Newcastle University wrote the chapter on the importance of where you live in determining the likelihood of taking one’s own life or engaging in other suicidal behaviours such as self-harm.

They found that “neighbourhoods that are the most deprived have worse health than those that are less deprived and this association follows a gradient: for each increase in deprivation, there is a decrease in health. Additional support for those living in deprived areas is needed to reduce geographical inequalities in health and the risk of suicidal behaviour”.

People living in areas that are more socio-economically disadvantaged such as the Byker area of Newcastle are 2-3 times more likely to commit suicide than people living in the most affluent areas of the same city such as Darras Hall – just a few miles away.

This reflects the huge inequalities in opportunities, income, hope quality of life between such neighbourhoods.

As a result the Samaritans charity is calling on the government, businesses, industry and sector leaders to be aware of the risks of suicide and to direct support to those with unstable employment, insecure housing, low income or in areas of socioeconomic deprivation

published on: 8 March 2017