Hidden Suicide?

I have often blogged about my own episodes of psychosis, autism and mental illness experiences on Twitter and on this blog. The people I follow and naturally the algorithm serves up news of other peoples death by suicide, neglect or other reasons. Quite often I have noticed people that have killed themselves have had their suicide found at inquest to be misadventure or drug related. Which is of course very sad.

However, when it comes to suicide statistics the media always report the headline suicide rate rather than issues such as ‘Drugs or Alcohol related’ or ‘Misadventure’. It’s not uncommon these days for people who kill themselves by overdose or ligature (even in a psychiatric hospital) for their death to be recorded as ‘Misadventure’ rather than ‘Suicide’. This seems to be sometimes because they haven’t bothered to leave a suicide note. Likewise people that overdose on drugs without a suicide note can have their deaths recorded as ‘Drug or Alcohol related’. Deaths aren’t always clear cut of course but I do feel the suicide rate is under reported.

Having looked at the statistics on Inquest conclusions recorded by Coroners in England and Wales 1995–2022 I have created the chart you see at the top of the page.

As you can see they have changed the definition of ‘Drug or Alcohol related deaths’ since 2014 which has soared. Additionally you can see ‘Misadventure’ is much higher than ‘Suicide’ and has shot up sharply between 2020 to 2022.

I believe the media should be reporting the ‘Misadventure’ rate as much as the ‘Suicide’ rate today. ‘Misadventure’ is the silent statistic of many taking their own lives and should be more recognised as such.

Note: You can find these official statistics from the Table 7 tab from this spreadsheet by the Ministry of Justice. The spreadsheet is linked from this page here under statistical table.