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How long is 'ever'?

I will allow that leeway might make 'ever' a few hundred years, since statistics were first compiled, or even the course of a lifetime.

Not however at the Department of Health. In those parts, 'ever' is TEN YEARS.

Yes it is

"The national suicide rate is at its lowest ever level, Care Services Minister Ivan Lewis announced today...Suicide rates, whilst fluctuating year on year, show a downward trend since the early 1980s. The target detailed above is to reduce the death rate from suicide and injury (and poisoning) of undetermined intent by at least a fifth by 2010 from a baseline rate of 9.2 deaths per 100,000 population in 1995/6/7 to 7.3 deaths per 100,000 in 2009/10/11".


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Anonymous ianvisits said... 8:56 am

The claim might be correct - but I can't actually find any long term historic figures for England alone (based on Google searches for free reports).

I can find figures for England and Wales combined going back at least a century, but not just for England.

Hence, at a headline level - the figure seems correct, but I don't know how many suicides to remove to account for the Welsh population.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 9:02 am

I’ve got an old Pelican paperback called ‘Suicide’ (snappy, huh?) in a box somewhere. Maybe that will help. The main stat that sticks in the mind is that the more prestigious the university, the higher the rate.  

Anonymous John said... 9:23 am

You have misread the quote. Read it again.

To get to 7.2 today from 9.2 in 1997 doesn't mean the level was 7.1 in 1996. Indeed we can infer that it was over 10 in the 1980s.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 9:44 am

John - my point is about the baseline being 'ever', there being no deliberate implication that the rate was lower pre 97.  

Anonymous John said... 2:55 pm

OK, well then 'ever' is at least 27 years, surely - downward trend to reach 9.2 in 1997, followed by falls 1997-2007.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 3:05 pm

I think if either of us were told we were going to live forever and then dropped dead at 27 we would feel a tad short-changed....  

Blogger Unsworth said... 7:41 pm

Yup, if you want to bullshit, choose your timescale to suit the story.  

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