Men account for majority of suicides in 2017 as total nears 400

Men account for majority of suicides in 2017 as total nears 400

Men accounted for almost 80% of suicides last year, according to figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

There were 392 deaths from suicide in Ireland in 2017, which follows a downward trend in recent years of people taking their own lives.

In 2014, there were 486 deaths. This number dropped in 2015 (425 deaths), and again in 2016 (399 deaths).

The high male to female ratio has also been a consistent feature of deaths by suicide over the years.

Men accounted for 79% of deaths last year, while the highest rates of suicide were observed among males aged 45-54 and women aged 55-64.

Ireland’s overall suicide rate in 2015 was 10th lowest of 33 European countries. Although for young people aged 15-19, it was 7th highest of 33 European countries.

The data was contained in the HSE’s National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP) Annual Report for 2017.

Mr John Meehan, HSE Assistant National Director, Head of NOSP & Mental Health Strategy & Planning, said: “These downward trends are welcomed, but suicide remains a complex issue requiring evidenced and targeted approaches and interventions across many different sectors.

"Connecting for Life, our national strategy to reduce suicide is now in its most effective period of implementation. Our focus in 2017 and ongoing, remains supporting, informing and monitoring the strategy’s collaborative implementation”.

The NOSP 2017 Annual Report includes highlights of initiatives aligned with the ongoing implementation of Connecting for Life, Ireland’s National Strategy to Reduce Suicide, 2015-2020. These include:

  • The coordination and provision of free, evidence-informed suicide and self-harm training in communities nationwide. In 2017, over 12,000 individuals completed programmes such as safeTALK and ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training).
  • The publication of the Connecting for Life Implementation Plan, 2017-2020 detailing milestones for each of the 69 actions in Connecting for Life over this three year period.
  • The launch of a further 10 local Connecting for Life Action Plans during 2017, supporting the capacity of local communities to prevent and respond to suicidal behaviour. There are now 15 such plans in place. All 17 local action plans will be in place by the end of October 2018.
  • NOSP funding of more than €11.9 million was allocated to suicide prevention in 2017. The NOSP invested almost 60% of this in agencies and front-line services making coordinated efforts to meet Connecting for Life objectives and actions, across seven overarching strategic goals.
  • Minister for Mental Health and Older People, Jim Daly is launching the report today, as well as the National Suicide Research Foundation (NSRF) Self-harm Registry Ireland 2017 Annual Report and the Self-harm in Irish Prisons Report for 2017.

    The incidence of self-harm amongst homeless people was 30 times more than the general population. There were 591 presentations made by people who are homeless in 2017, an increase of 13% on last year.

    Merchants Quay Ireland said the latest figures reveal the real human trauma being experienced by so many people trapped in homelessness.

    "People who are homeless or in addiction are more likely to attempt suicide and have more mental health problems," said co-founder of Merchants Quay Ireland Tony Geoghegan.

    When the most vulnerable in society are stigmatised and find that they can’t get access to services they desperately need, then we as a nation have failed.

    "In Merchants Quay Ireland’s own services, we saw a 33% increase last year in people accessing our mental health services and a 55% increase in people accessing the GP service.

    "There needs to be significant investment in our mental health and primary care services in Ireland, particularly aimed at people who are long-term homeless.

    "These services need to take into consideration the often-chaotic nature associated with chronic homelessness."

    Digital Desk

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