HC Deb 19 March 1953 vol 513 c190
14. Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

asked the Minister of Health whether he will appoint a committee of medical and other experts to investigate the high number of suicides in recent years among schoolboys and undergraduates.

Mr. Iain Macleod

The figures for suicides among boys between 10 and 14 are too small to be statistically significant. Separate figures for older students are not available. I am, however, aware of the concern about this problem, and while I do not think it would be appropriate for me to set up a special committee, I am sure that the problem will be carefully watched by all concerned.

Lieut-Colonel Lipton

Is not that a somewhat vague and evasive reply? Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware of the considerable concern and disquiet felt by parents and teachers, and will he not, in association, perhaps, with the Minister of Education, see to what extent the strain of examinations is responsible for this deplorable series of suicides?

Mr. Macleod

As far as trends are concerned, the general suicide rate for boys and men between 15 and 24 years of age is lower than the general rate and has been falling in recent years. The fullest facilities are available to universities for dealing with the general problem and I think it is a matter which is best left to them. If they ask for my help in any way, I shall be delighted to assist, but I believe that they have the fullest facilities available already.