Figures reveal how many Oxfordshire residents have lost their lives to suicide – as campaigners call for the Government to bolster prevention services across the county following the coronavirus pandemic.

The research came as organisations got together to raise awareness for World Suicide Prevention Day, held annually on September 10.

Office for National Statistics data showed 158 people were registered as having died by suicide in Oxfordshire between 2018 and 2020 – the latest available data.

It means the suicide rate in the area was 8.7 per 100,000 people over the period.

That was in line with between 2017 and 2019, and lower than the rate across England and Wales of 10.5 deaths per 100,000 people.

Dan Knowles, Oxfordshire Mind CEO, said: “One in four people will experience depression during their life. It can be extremely debilitating with symptoms including inability to sleep, seeing no point in the future, feeling disconnected from other people and experiencing suicidal thoughts.

“Suicide is a significant public health and social inequality issue, with more than 6,000 people across the UK and Republic of Ireland taking their own lives each year. Tens of thousands more attempt suicide. Every life lost to suicide is a tragedy.

“We know that suicide is preventable, it’s not inevitable. Oxfordshire Mind believe we can all play an active part in suicide prevention. With treatment and support, the majority of people who have felt suicidal go on to live fulfilling lives. The earlier you let someone know how you feel, the quicker you can get support.

“You deserve support, you are not alone and there is support out there.”

Separate figures show the number of suicide deaths registered across the two nations fell by 8.2% from 5,691 in 2019 to 5,224 in 2020 – though the ONS warned the decrease may have been caused by several factors including a delay in registrations during the pandemic.

Samaritans is urging the Government to account for the ‘strong connection’ between economic deprivation and suicide into its post-pandemic economic recovery plans.

Brian Dow, deputy CEO of charity Rethink Mental Illness and co-chairman of the National Suicide Prevention Alliance, said the pandemic had led to an increase in risk factors for suicide, including debt, housing instability and access to care.

He said: “Reform and investment in health, social care and our benefits system, which provide vital support to so many, is critical."

The Government has pledged to invest £57 million by 2023-24 to support local suicide prevention plans and establish suicide bereavement services.

Contact Samaritans for free at any time on 116 123, or visit