The Economic Cost of Suicide

Every life lost to suicide is a tragedy. Up to 135 people are estimated to be impacted by each one, causing devastation to families and communities. With 6588 UK deaths registered as suicide in 2022 alone, this means nearly 900,000 people a year could be impacted across the country.

Following the publication of the cross-party suicide prevention strategy in September, Harmless joined with Samaritans and other organisations from throughout the sector in calling on the government to renew local suicide prevention funding that would have cost just £1.40 per person. We were all left bitterly disappointed when the chancellor declined to make this provision in his autumn statement.

Earlier this month, the government’s most recent budget represented another wasted opportunity to back-up the strategy with the resources to reach its targets. To put the funding required into context, Samaritans has published a new report highlighting the economic cost of suicide in the UK, which only underlines the folly of failing to invest in suicide prevention.

The economic impacts of suicide range from financial losses due to lost years of life in employment, to costs felt by the healthcare system, police and coroners. Some of the key findings in the report include:

• In 2022, suicide cost the economy at least £9.58 billion
• One suicide of a 10–14 year old cost on average £2.85 million
• One suicide of a woman aged 25–29 cost on average £1.96 million
• One suicide of a man aged 30–34 cost on average £1.7 million

As the report itself concludes, the figures self-evidently demonstrate that suicide prevention is a crucial area for public investment due to the significant financial and emotional costs which are caused by suicides every year. The cost of a suicide to society and to loved ones is devastating. By any measure, suicide prevention is a worthwhile investment.

A copy of the full report can be downloaded here.