Self harm and suicidal thoughts and attempts
Last updated 2 March 2021 - see all updates
1. Main facts and figures
in 2014, a higher percentage of White British people than Asian people said they had had suicidal thoughts at some point in their life
White British women were more likely to have self-harmed at some point in their lives than women from the Asian, Other White, and Black groups
there were no other meaningful differences in the prevalence of suicidal thoughts, attempted suicide or self-harm
2. Things you need to know
What the data measures
The data measures the percentage of people aged 16 and over in England who had, at some point in their life:
- thought about taking their own life
- attempted suicide
- self harmed
Percentages have been rounded to 1 decimal point.
Not included in the data
The data does not include:
- people who live in institutional settings (such as hospitals or prisons)
- people who live in temporary housing (such as hostels or bed and breakfasts)
- homeless people
The ethnic groups used in the data
Data is shown for 5 aggregated ethnic groups:
- Mixed and Other ethnic groups
- White British
- White Other
This means estimates are shown for these groups as a whole. This is because the number of people surveyed was too small to make any reliable conclusions about any of the 18 ethnic groups.
Read the detailed methodology document for the data on this page.
It is unlikely that everyone who had suicidal thoughts, attempted suicide or self-harmed responded accurately when surveyed, particularly when interviewed. This may be because of the social stigma that some people attach to these behaviours.
People were more likely to report these behaviours in the self-completion section of the survey, but not everyone completed this section.
These statistics have been age-standardised so comparisons can be made between ethnic groups as if they had the same age profile (the number of people of different ages within an ethnic group). They do not show the actual percentage of people in each ethnic group who self-harmed or experienced suicidal thoughts.
The figures on this page are based on survey data. Find out more about:
interpreting survey data, including how reliability is affected by the number of people surveyed
how weighting is used to make survey data more representative of the whole population
In the data file
See Download the data for:
- the unweighted number of people surveyed
- separate figures for suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts, and self harm
- confidence intervals for each ethnic group – find out more about how we use confidence intervals to judge the reliability of estimates
3. By ethnicity
|Ethnicity||Suicidal thoughts||Suicide attempts||Self-harm|
|White - British||21.6||6.9||8.1|
|White - Other||20.8||6.1||6.1|
Summary of Self harm and suicidal thoughts and attempts By ethnicity Summary
4. Data sources
Type of data
Type of statistic
Every 7 years (further publications dependent on further surveys being commissioned)
Purpose of data source
The Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey provides data on the prevalence of treated and untreated psychiatric disorders in English adults aged 16 and over.
5. Download the data
The percentage estimates of adults who have experienced: self-harm, suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts over their lifetime, by sex and broad ethnic group in England 2014 based on results from the APMS. The estimates are provided with 95% confidence intervals.