More than 300 suicide deaths were registered in the North East last year, new figures show, as charities have called for greater action following World Suicide Prevention Day.

New figures released by the Office for National Statistics show 328 deaths from suicide were registered in the North East in 2021 – equivalent to one every 27 hours.

The number is up on 306 the year before. A further 266 suicide deaths were recorded in 2019, meaning there were 13 deaths by suicide per 100,000 people in the region in the three years to 202.

Read more: Shildon mum who lost both kids to suicide calls for urgent action

It makes the North East the worst place in England for suicide deaths, per population.

Mental health charity Rethink Mental Illness said that despite improvements in awareness, the increase in the suicide rate across England and Wales highlights the need to tackle the many risk factors that lead to suicide, including debt, financial stress and housing instability, all of which are being exacerbated by the cost-of-living crisis.

And Samaritans said the figures are "more worrying evidence that not enough is being done to drive down our high suicide rates".

In Darlington the number of suicide deaths increased by 240% from 2020 to 2021, from 10 to 24. The number also increased in Durham, up from 67 in 2020 to 90 in 2021.

Meanwhile in Northumberland, the number of suicide deaths almost doubled from 22 to 39.

There were 5,583 suicides registered nationally in 2021, equivalent to a rate of 10.7 deaths per 100,000 people – up from 10.0 in 2020, but roughly in line with pre-pandemic levels of 11 in 2019 and 10.5 in 2018.

The figures only include registrations in 2021, meaning they could include deaths that occurred in 2020 but were registered the following year due to disruption to coroners' inquests caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

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Jacqui Morrissey, assistant director of research and influencing at the suicide-prevention charity, said: "We want to see a new national suicide prevention plan, led by the Government, that will achieve the lowest national suicide rate in history – anything less will simply be accepting failure."

The Department for Health and Social Care said: "Every suicide is a tragedy and our sympathies go to the family and friends of those affected."

A spokesperson added that it is prioritising children and young people's mental health with the existing Suicide Prevention Strategy and is investing £57 million in suicide prevention through the NHS to "support local plans and develop suicide bereavement services" across the country.

If you are in need of support you can contact the following:

- Samaritans is available, day or night, 365 days of the year. You can call them for free on 116 123, email them at, or visit to find your nearest branch.

- If U Care Share on 0191 387 5661 or text IUCS to 85258

- SANE on 07984 967 708, Calm on 0800 58 58 58

- Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust crisis line 0800 0516 171.

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