THE number of people under the age of 35 who commit suicide has decreased, but more work still needs to be done, a national organisation has said.

New figures released by PAPYRUS – a charity set up to help prevent young suicides – showed 1,625 under-35s committed suicide in 2012, compared with 1,746 the previous year.

A total of 21 people under the age of 35 committed suicide in North Yorkshire in 2012.

Ged Flynn, chief executive of PAPYRUS, said the reduction was welcome, but more needed to be done to help people thinking about ending their own lives.

He said: “Overall, this is very positive, but we must continue to drive down young suicide. We need more focus, additional resources and increased awareness that there is help available, both for young people and others concerned about them.”

The new figures show young men remain the most vulnerable. Nationally in the 25 to 29 age group there was an increase of suicides to 505, from 482 in 2011 and in the 30 to 34 years bracket a rise of 17 during the same period.

However, the organisation pointed out that suicides of people under the age of 15 were not included in published statistics, and although relatively rare, PAPYRUS said education and awareness of mental wellbeing could be introduced at an early age.

Mr Flynn said: “We continue to call for change. The current requirement to deliver a conclusion at a suicide inquest that requires proof ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ reflects a time when suicide was an unlawful act. We believe ‘balance of probability’ is a fairer test, reflecting changes made to the Suicide Act of 1961 which decriminalised suicide.

“While acknowledging that in some cases families and friends may wish for a conclusion other than suicide, this perpetuates stigma, which in turn forms a barrier to vulnerable young people seeking help.”