Suicide in Middle Aged Men

Middle-aged men remain one of the most high-risk groups for suicide.

  • Males continue to account for three-quarters of suicide deaths in 2018 (4,903 male deaths compared with 1,604 female deaths).
  • Males aged 45 to 49 years had the highest age-specific suicide rate (27.1 deaths per 100,000 males); for females, the age group with the highest rate was also 45 to 49 years, at 9.2 deaths per 100,000

Unfortunately, the number of young people taking their own lives continues to increase, however, as there are existing programmes within South West London aimed at reducing self-harm in children and young people, our new project will focus on preventing suicide in middle-aged men in South West London.

Our new Suicide Prevention projects in South West London. The South West London Mental Health team is working in collaboration with the six local authorities, South West London and St George’s Mental Health Trust, the Metropolitan Police and Mind in Kingston, Richmond, Croydon and Wandsworth to launch two new suicide prevention projects funded by NHS England.


Suicide Prevention Projects

Our new suicide prevention project will support NHS England’s ambition to reduce suicide amongst middle-aged men by 10% by 2021, through a range of outreach activities, training for organisations and individuals in the community, and recruiting suicide prevention champions.

Suicide Prevention Champions There are things we can all do to help someone who is feeling suicidal, which is why we are encouraging individuals and organisations to become more aware of how to support “at-risk” friends, family, colleagues and customers and to become suicide prevention champions, coaching others on how to:

  • Be aware of the signs of someone who may be struggling
  • Raise awareness and encourage others to do the free Zero Suicide Alliance training
  • Encourage opening up and reducing the stigma around suicide, particularly for men
  • Start the conversation if you are worried about someone and ask how they are feeling
  • Be aware of services and support you can signpost someone to
  • Raise awareness and share information about suicide with those around you
  • Encourage your employer to take part in suicide prevention training, for example, having a trained Mental Health First Aider in the workplace.


Suicide Prevention Toolkit

The toolkit below can help you have conversations with anyone you feel may be at risk of suicide. In addition to tips on how best to help someone who is struggling, the toolkit includes a list of resources including where to go for further support.

Suicide Prevention Toolkit


Outreach Activity

During 2020 we will deliver outreach activity across South West London, in a range of settings which men are likely to frequent (e.g. pubs, gyms/ leisure centres, football clubs; targeting men on lower incomes through Citizen’s Advice Bureau, Job Centres, Housing Associations and Local Authority Housing; Supporting or setting up a Men’s Shed in each borough).


Training for Organisations

The ‘’Business in community’ Mental Health for Employers Toolkit’ is a comprehensive tool to help those in the workplace identify staff members who may have suicidal feelings and gives practical advice on how to deal with a crisis situation. The toolkit will:

  • Give you practical advice
  • Help embed suicide prevention strategies in your organisation’s health and wellbeing policies,
  • Guide your approach to supporting those at risk and act as a resource to provide support across your workforce.


Recovery cafés

Recovery Cafés support individuals to reduce their immediate mental health crisis and anxiety, including those who don’t have support networks available to them. These are free, inclusive and welcoming spaces for people who are struggling to cope with their mental health and are open evenings and weekends when other services may be closed. There is no need for an appointment and once at the café, you will find the following services:

  • Advice, information and signposting
  • Drop in support from local mental health teams
  • Hot meals and drinks for a small charge
  • Group activities
  • A chill-out space

There are currently two local crisis cafés available to Adult residents (18 +) of Kingston, Richmond, Wandsworth, Sutton and Merton. Opening hours: 6:00pm to 11:00pm Monday – Friday, 12 noon to 11:00pm on Saturdays, Sundays and every bank holiday.


Men’s Sheds

During 2020, we will be supporting existing ‘Men’s Sheds’ whilst encouraging the development of new sheds across South West London.

“Sheds are about meeting like-minded people and having someone to share your worries with. They are about having fun, sharing skills and knowledge with like-minded people and gaining a renewed sense of purpose and belonging. As a by-product of all of that they reduce isolation and feelings of loneliness, they allow men to deal with mental health challenges more easily and remain independent, they rebuild communities and in many cases, they save men’s lives”.


Suicide Bereavement Liaison Service

The Suicide Bereavement Liaison Service aims to support individuals and families bereaved by suicide and link them to relevant services.

We now have a designated suicide bereavement liaison officer, who will receive referrals for support from police and/or health care professionals, and will proactively contact anyone bereaved following suicide to offer:

  • One-to-one support
  • Support during inquests or other related matters
  • Guidance on where to find bereavement support services or mental health services for more specialist support
  • Training to bereavement support organisations, GPs and Community Pharmacists to up-skill them to support those bereaved by suicide
  • Resources and support


Resources and support

There is so much information and support out there which we can use to help someone we are concerned about. Below are some useful resources that should help you in your role of championing suicide prevention.