1. Home
  2.  » 
  3. Key Data
  4.  » 
  5. Mental Health
  6.  » Suicide


Mental health

Some of the most common mental disorders experienced by young people include anxiety disorders, mood disorders, behavioural disorders and eating disorders. Mental health problems have important implications for all aspects of young people’s lives.

Among boys the likelihood of a disorder is highest at age 11-16.  Among girls, it is 17-19


Suicide is rare among young people but it remains a key public health target. It is also a major cause of death in young people. Chart 6.14 shows the age-specific suicide rates in the UK for young men and women between the ages of 10 and 24, drawing on Office for National Statistics data. Rates are higher in the older age group, and higher among young men than young women; a quite different pattern to that seen above with self-harm.

From age 10-24, risk of suicide is highest for young men aged 20-24

Chart 6.15 and 6.16 show time trends. There was a peak in youth suicide in suicide in the mid 1990s, and a decline thereafter until recently, when rates have started to rise again. Similar trends are seen in England and Scotland.

Suicide rates among 15-24 year olds have begun to rise again in recent years
Suicide rates among 15-24 year olds have begun to rise again in recent years - Scotland

Cross country comparisons have shown higher rates in Scotland compared to other countries of the UK (Chart 6.17).

Youth suicide rates vary between the countries of the UK

More information on suicidal behaviour among the older age group is found in the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey. Overall, 1 in 15 people reported that they had made a suicide attempt at some point (6.7% of the population), with more women (8%) than men (5.4%) having done so. Rates for young men aged 16-24 were roughly similar to those for men as a whole. However, rates for young women were notably high, at just under 13%.

The UK has a relatively low suicide rate for young people aged 10-24 when compared to other similar high income countries, based on Global Burden of Disease Study data (Global Health Data Exchange, 2021).

All data correct as of 1st November 2021