Professor Louis Appleby, of the University of Manchester, who leads the National Suicide Prevention Strategy for England, said the overall figures were the "best we've seen in years".
In England the overall rate fell from 10.1 to 9.5. "You'd have to go back more than three decades to find a drop as big as that in one year," he said.
However, he said that it was important to "keep an eye" on the figures for young people.
"There is a worry that we have a generation of young people who respond with self-harming behaviour to the stresses that they face," he said.