At least one person with a chronic or terminal illness decides to commit suicide every day, new research has indicated.

Think-tank Demos reported that more than 400 suicide cases a year currently relate to terminal or chronic illnesses, with 10 per cent of all incidents linked to these conditions.

The Truth About Suicide study from the organisation was designed to highlight the impact that physical health problems can have on people’s decisions to take their own lives, along with mental health problems.

According to the research, it is not just older patients who are deciding to commit suicide because of physical issues.

Its authors stated that certain patients are taking their own lives at a “younger age in order to avoid severe symptoms and greater pain later in life”.

Freedom of information requests made to 147 primary care trusts were used as the basis of the study, along with data from various other sources.

A Department of Health spokesman said: “We are consulting with bereaved families and experts in general practice, local government, and other organisations on a new strategy to prevent suicides.

“The consultation calls upon healthcare professionals to be alert to mental health issues, especially depression, in the patients that they see for known physical health problems, and to take the right steps to help people with long-term conditions have a better quality of life.”