Female student suicides in England & Wales rose for a third consecutive year in 2015, according to new figures released by the Office of National Statistics. The release follows a BBC article indicating that up to a third of female students reported having a mental health problem.
In 2015, 41 female students died by suicide, up from 33 in 2014, which was a rise of over 20%. This was the third consecutive year of rising female student suicide rates, and the highest in at least 10 years.
Between 2012 and 2015, female suicides in England & Wales increased from 22 per year to 41 per year. All of the 2015 deaths were individuals usually residing in England and Wales. Male student suicides were the same in 2012 and 2015, at 87 per year, reflecting a consistently higher suicide rate amongst males in the general population compared to females.
Between the 2011/2012 and 2014/2015 academic years, the number of full-time UK female students decreased approximately 0.6% according to figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.
The previous highest suicide rate for female students was in 2010, a year in which the number of graduates in employment, and in high skilled jobs, decreased due to the fallout from the economic recession.
As of 2015, the proportion of graduates in high skilled jobs was 5% lower than in 2006. In 2015, female graduates also experienced lower rates of high skilled employment than male graduates, and faced an £8000 gender pay gap compared to males.
Note: This post was updated to include the percentage change in female full-time students during the period. The graph uses student numbers based on the academic year ending in the year in question, since the majority of the academic year occurs in that calendar year – ie. ’2012′ in the graph refers to the 2011/2012 academic year.