Women over 75 are the most likely of their gender to commit suicide

Click to follow

Women above the age of 75 have the highest suicide rates among the female population.

While men aged between 15 and 44 years old are the most likely among their gender to kill themselves, it is older women who are more at risk than their younger counterparts, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.

In England, about seven per 100,000 women over 75 commit suicide each year, compared with about six per 100,000 in the 45-75 range and only five among those aged 15 to 44.

Men have a much higher suicide rate across all ages, with 17 per 100,000 in those over 75, compared with 13 per 100,000 in those aged 45 to 74 and more than 20 per 100,000 in the 15 to 44 range.

Three-quarters of all suicide victims are male.

Wide regional variations were revealed in the statistics, with the male suicide rate in Scotland 50 per cent higher than the UK average.

Women north of the border were twice as likely to kill themselves as in the rest of Britain.

Female suicide rates were highest in Glasgow, followed by Camden in north London and Conwy in Wales.

Among men, the rate was highest in Glasgow, followed by West Dunbartonshire and Eilean Siar, all in Scotland.

Deprivation also has a major impact on suicide rates, with rates among the most deprived areas of the country more than double those in the most affluent.

Suicides account for 1 per cent of deaths in the UK and the Government wants to reduce the rate by one fifth by 2010 from a 2002 baseline.

The ONS figures show that 5,906 people killed themselves in 2004, a drop of 7 per cent from 1991.

The male suicide rate has shown a downward trend since peaking in 1998 and is at its lowest level since 1990, while the women's rate has remained about the same.

Charities said elderly women were more at risk because they were often living alone, in poor health and facing financial problems