Suicide figures in Wexford remain devastatingly high
SUICIDE figures for County Wexford are devastatingly high, however, progress is being made in the HSE and among voluntary and community services to increase access to mental health services and support.
Sean McCarthy, Resource Officer at the HSE's South Eastern Suicide Resource Office in Waterford, said statistics on suicide tend to fluctuate and the methodology used to gather the information has not changed since the 1960s.
'There is greater awareness of the prevalence of suicide today but remember suicide was considered a crime in the 1960s and was only decriminalised in 1993, so it's possible that not all suicides were registered as suicides but as accidents for example,' he said.
Central Statistics Office (CSO) figures show that in 2011, the rate of suicide nationally was 11.2 deaths per 100,000 people, with Wexford at 19.9 deaths per 100,000 people. The number of deaths registered as suicide in 2013 for Co. Wexford were 11.8 per 100,000 people, while the number of deaths registered in Wicklow for the same year are 3.9.
There is no single reason why one region in Ireland has a higher incidence of self-inflicted death over another, however rural isolation, drink or drug abuse, debt, unemployment or the lack of medical mental attention can all play a part.
The HSE's South Eastern Suicide Resource Office in Waterford was set up fifteen years ago following a recommendation of the Report of the National Task Force on Suicide (1998).
The office supports local health offices and voluntary and community groups across the region, to reduce the numbers of suicide and self harm incidents through training courses, counselling services and bereavement support.
There two Training and Development Officers dedicated to suicide prevention training in the South East and in 2013, almost two thousand people received training on one of some 15 training programmes targeting for school staff, work places, heatlh care work or community workers, parents, gardai and children.
The 2005-2014 'Reach Out - National Strategy for Action on Suicide Prevention' is coming to a close, and a new policy framework is being drawn up among Wexford representatives from the HSE, County Council, the Gardai, WLD, FDYS to ensure a cordinated county wide response to suicide for the next five years.