A RISING number of men across the Bradford district are taking their own lives, new figures show.

And an increase mirrored in the national suicide rate has sparked concern among mental health charities, which warn the coronavirus crisis could exacerbate existing risk factors.

The latest statistics were released to coincide with World Suicide Prevention Day, today, which sees organisations come together globally to raise awareness.

Public Health England data shows there were 99 cases of suicide among men or boys aged 10 and over in Bradford district between 2017 and 2019, the latest period for which figures are available.

It means the area’s male suicide rate was around 15.6 in every 100,000 men, up from 14.6 between 2016 and 2018.

Men accounted for the majority of suicide deaths in Bradford district over the period.

Separate figures from the Office for National Statistics show that across England and Wales, the overall suicide rate rose to 11 deaths per 100,000 last year, with the rate among males reaching its highest level for two decades – 16.9 deaths per 100,000.

Men aged 45 to 49 had the highest suicide rate, at 25.5 deaths per 100,000 males.

The Samaritans said this was a “worrying trend that has persisted for decades”, while the ONS added higher rates of suicide among middle-aged men might be due to economic hardship, isolation and alcoholism, with men in this category also less likely to seek help.

The figures show the suicide rate for women in England and Wales was 5.3 deaths per 100,000.

Brian Dow, deputy chief executive officer of charity Rethink Mental Illness and co-chairman of the National Suicide Prevention Alliance, said: “Any death by suicide is a tragedy. These statistics represent lives lost and families up and down the country living with unimaginable grief.

“As a society we still have a way to go to make a meaningful impact on bringing down the rate of death by suicide.”