Sunday 19 November 2017

Ireland's suicide rate has stabilised since recession - report

Stock photo
Stock photo
Denise Calnan

Denise Calnan

Provisional data of Ireland's suicide rate shows a decreasing trend in the last two years.

The HSE's National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP) Annual Report for 2016 says there were 399 suicides last year compared with 451 in 2015 and 554 in 2011, according to provisional figures.

Over 80pc of the cases involve men.

Speaking on RTE Radio One's Morning Ireland, Assistant National Director and Head of the NOSP John Meehan said the highest proportion of deaths, by age and gender, are now men aged between 45 to 54.

"We have to report on actual figures two years after, but recent figures for 2016 show a substantial reduction," Mr Meehan said.

"The deaths have to be determined by the coroner, and this can take some time to process.

"It is a delay that is unavoidable currently, we are working with the coroner in relation to the time involved.

"But it's important we get these figures right.

"The figures for 2015 and 2016 are provisional, they are subject to change, but historically, the change hasn't been substantial."

"The highest proportion of deaths are men aged between 45 and 54.

"Past figures have been younger, men between the ages of 18 and 24.

"Contributory factors could be the recession, the employment status in the country."

Cases of self-harm also appear to be following a similar stabilising trend.

Over 8,900 individuals were seen at hospitals in cases of self-harm last year, which is in line with the figures for 2015.

Mr Meehan also said that work is being done with social media networks Google, Twitter and Facebook to prevent suicide.

"We're lucky here in Ireland that we have the HQ's of Google, Twitter and Facebook and we're working with them. They have a mental health specialist within that and we can alert and we can take down the negative aspect," he said.

"It's so important that we take a positive approach."

Anyone affected by issues in this story can contact the Samaritans freephone line on 116 123 or Pieta House on 1800 247 247.

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