PRESIDENT Michael D Higgins has called for an investigation into the social and regional differences behind suicide rates.
On the eve of World Suicide Prevention Day, the President said research was "crucial" to understanding suicide and helping to stop it.
Mr Higgins said an estimated 507 people died by suicide across the country in 2012, according to HSE figures.
"But such aggregate figures mask significant social and regional differences, with figures for certain counties proportionally much higher than for others," he said.
"The underlying reasons for these different trends need to be investigated."
The President was addressing a conference on World Suicide Prevention Day hosted by charity Console at Croke Park.
He credited the organisation with having called for an accurate database of Ireland's suicide rates.
He also said the current economic climate in Ireland was putting "a great deal of additional distress on people".
"I would love to see ... in relation to youth services, the ability for people to be able to walk into facilities and talk about their difficulties," he said.
For many people "there is nobody to talk to", he added.
He also said people were under a great deal of stress related to debt and poverty. However, he said there were longer term issues involved around suicide.
"The sad fact is hardly any community in Ireland has been spared the bewilderment and sorrow that surrounds suicide."
Official figures released last week revealed 9,500 people were treated in hospital in 2012 after attempting to take their own lives.
Emergency departments recorded 12,010 incidents of self-harm, with many distressed men and women being rushed in several times.