Suicide rate down but support still 'an issue'
THE number of men who took their own lives last year fell by 6pc and there is evidence of stabilisation of suicide rates among all age groups, an Oireachtas committee was told.
Junior Health Minister Kathleen Lynch said 507 suicide deaths were registered in 2012, a 3.5pc decrease on 2011.
"Males accounted for 81pc of all suicide deaths in 2012. However, figures show a 6pc decrease in male suicides from 2011," she said.
She warned against the quality of support given to people in distress by well-meaning groups, which have been set up on a local basis in response to a tragedy.
"The big worry you have is that the message may not be right," she told the Joint Committee on Public Service Oversight and Petitions.
She said her priority was to advance implementing A Vision for Change, the national mental health policy, and Reach Out – the national strategy for action on suicide prevention.
In a few weeks, the Samaritans will be contactable on 123116 through mobile phones as part of an initiative funded by phone companies.
Ms Lynch said the HSE recently established an advisory group to focus on media monitoring, messages on suicide prevention and the development of 'help seeking' and 'getting through tough times'.