Young Men Suicide Rise ‘Worrying’

A coroner says he is “desperately concerned” about a rise in the number of young men committing suicide in his area.

Philip Walters said the number of cases in Bridgend, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tydfil had “increased substantially” over the last few years.

Over an 11-month period in 2006 he dealt with nearly one case a week.

Mr Walters, who has been the area’s coroner for 25 years, said of those the vast majority were men under 30.

Latest figures show suicide rates across Wales have been going down slightly in recent years, but Mr Walters said the rise in suicide in young men was a “nationwide phenomenon”.

He said: “I think with young men, you’ve got to be desperately concerned.

“It’s quite a high percentage, and it seems to be higher in the valleys than in other parts of Wales.”

Mr Walters said the most difficult question was why young men were committing suicide.

“It’s the coroner’s duty to find out how, and that’s not terribly difficult, why is a far more complex situation,” he said.

The coroner explained that in some cases, “discussions or arguments” may have occurred prior to the event, but in others, there was “no logic”.

“There doesn’t appear to be any particular reason why, and it just happens out of the blue, and I think that is as great a concern to us as anything.”

The coroner’s comments have been echoed by the Samaritans in Wales, who are in the process of organising a major awareness campaign in those communities.

Joanna Greenslade said: “I’m not at all surprised. It is a problem and it’s a very large problem throughout Wales.

“We’ve looked at figures in Neath and Port Talbot area and again they’re very high. We do have a major concern for young men. We’re very worried about it.”