World suicide prevention day 2018


World Suicide Prevention Day is an annual global event that aims to raise awareness and reduce the stigma of suicide worldwide. Now in its 15th year, WSPD falls on 10th September every year. In this blog, we’re going to look at some of the facts & figures surrounding suicide in Ireland in the 21st Century.

Overall, the rate of suicide in Ireland has been on a downward trend for almost two decades. The highest rate of suicide in recent years was back in 2001, when there were 13.5 suicides per 100,000 people. Since then, the highest recorded rate of suicide was 2004, when it was 12.2 per 100,000, and has never gone above that rate since.

There is an understandably prevalent myth that suicide rates in Ireland shot up after the onset of the recession, but research carried out by RTÉ suggests this is not the case. While there was an uptick in the number of suicides every year, this was also while the population was undergoing significant growth. The actual rate per 100,000 did not jump as a result of the recession.

In 2012, the unemployment rate in Ireland was at 14.6%, while about 20% of suicide victims that year were unemployed. The following year, the unemployment rate had dropped to 12.9%, yet the proportion of people who committed suicide while unemployed actually rose to 21.2%. Logic would suggest that suicide and unemployment should move in the same direction, but this is not the case. Statistics such as these highlight how complex it can be to examine these sorts of issues.

On average, there are around 12,000 attempted suicides in Ireland annually. It is a well-known fact that men are more likely to commit suicide than women. While this is true in Ireland, with men being about 3 times more likely to commit suicide than women, women are more likely than men to attempt suicide.

For Irish men under the age of 35, suicide is the second most common cause of death after accidental deaths. The age bracket with the highest risk is men between the ages of 15 & 24, while the risk of suicide among men drops considerably after the age of 44.

For women, the reverse is true. Irish women between the ages of 15 & 24 have a low risk of suicide, but this increases as time goes on. Suicide is most common among Irish women between the ages of 45 & 74.

Suicide among children under 14 is exceptionally rare, but tragically, it does occur. Between 2000 & 2013, 43 children under the age of 14 took their own lines.

The Irish Government has been accused of cutting funding to mental health services in Ireland, though the amount they have been allocating to this has actually increased. The budget for mental health this year was over €850 million, an increase of 3% when compared to 2016. On top of that, the government has also allocated €50 million for work to begin on the new National Forensic Mental Health Hospital.

If you need help or just want to talk, you can call the Samaritans 24/7 by calling 116 123.

David Clarke