Friday 22 November 2019

Middle-aged 'most vulnerable to suicide' as self-harm on rise

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Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Middle-aged men and women have the country's highest rate of suicide, with the greatest risk for men in the 45-54 year age group.

The annual report of the HSE's National Office for Suicide Prevention revealed that the most vulnerable years for women are when they are 55-64 years old.

It comes as a separate report warns of an increase in homeless people treated for self-harm.

The downward trend in suicide rates is continuing.

There were 392 suicide deaths in Ireland last year, compared to 399 in 2016.

Some 425 suicides were recorded in 2015, and 486 in 2014.

More than three-quarters were male.

Last year, the National-Self Harm Registry Ireland recorded 11,600 presentations to hospital due to self-harm, involving 9,103 people.

The highest rates of self-harm were consistently recorded in young people.

Since 2007, the rate of self-harm among young people has increased by 21pc.

The increase has been worse among females and the age of onset of self-harm is decreasing.

Increasing rates of self-harm, along with "increases in highly lethal methods" indicate that mental health promotion and targeted interventions in key transition stages for young people are warranted, the report warned.

Last year, a total of 591 presentations were made by people of "no fixed abode", an increase of 13pc from 2016.

The report warned that, although a small group, these homeless "are a particularly vulnerable population".

It recently emerged that the incidence of self-harm was 30 times higher among the homeless population, underlining the need to explore the specific challenges of treating self-harm among that group.

Dr Eve Griffin, manager of the National-Self-Harm Registry Ireland's National Suicide Research Foundation, said: "The increase in self-harm among young people signals an unmet need in terms of mental health services for children and adolescents. Effective interventions are needed for young people at risk of self-harm. "

Irish Independent

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