Welcome news from the Office for National Statistics: suicide is on the decline. ONS always sticks to the facts, so no suggestions as to why, but three possibilities come to mind:
- better treatment
- access to the means of suicide is becoming more difficult
- something else
I haven't put 'everyone is happier' as a fourth possibility because mental illness and feelings of wellbeing are not opposites - they sit on different continuums.
The 'better treatment' argument is an interesting one. Remember that every serious mental illness (e.g. bipolar disorder, schizophrenia) increases the risk of suicide - not just depressive disorder. It's a slight worry that we are now seeing a backlash against anti-depressive drugs. Certainly they are over-prescribed; but also they are very effective when indicated - baby and bathwater dudes!
Restricting access to the means of suicide probably helps. The initial evidence came from a dramatic reduction in suicide when the gas supply in England changed from coal gas (lethal) to North Sea (not): people did not switch to an alternate means and the overall rate reduced. Currently there is a focus on barriers at jump bridges and action at railway stations.
It used to be true that medicine was a high risk occupation for suicide - again probably a question of access: doctors know how to kill themselves and eavready access to an array of drugs. But now the opposite is true - doctors have a particularly low rate. Difficult to think why the change has occurred.
Lastly you should read the note on how suicide is defined in official statistics.