Fewer men are dying by suicide but greater numbers of women are, the most recent figures from the Samaritans show.
The suicide rate among women increased 14.7% between 2013 and 2014, while the rate for men dropped by 6.4%.
However, men in Ireland are still four times more likely than women to take their own lives. In 2014, 459 people took their own lives, of whom 368 were men and 91 were women. Men, aged 50-54, are the most likely to die by suicide while women appear to be most vulnerable when aged 25-29 years.
The Samaritans, who collated the research from Central Statistics Office (CSO) data, urged the Government to make suicide prevention a priority and called for the national strategy for suicide reduction, ‘Connecting for Life’ to be implemented.
“Tackling suicide requires a range of agencies to work together nationally and in communities, to give people the best chance to turn their lives around when they are struggling.
“Every suicide is a tragedy. We must all work together to encourage men and women to seek help before reaching a crisis point, so they can access the support they need. We all have a role to play in reducing suicide in Ireland. Feeling physically or socially isolated is a risk to your mental health,” said executive director Catherine Brogan.
“Be kind to yourself and, if you’re struggling, take action. Go to the GP, contact Samaritans. If you see someone else struggling to cope, take action, ask them. ‘Are you okay?’ Those could be the most important words you say today.”
The Samaritans can be contacted free at 116 123 (this number will not appear on your phone bill), email email@example.com, or visit www.samaritans.ie to find details of your nearest branch.
Suicide rates here have fluctuated more than in the UK in recent years, but they are currently at its lowest since 1993. The overall suicide rate in the Republic is at its lowest since 1993, according to the Samaritans.
Figures published by the National Office for Suicide Prevention last year showed Munster had some of the highest rates of suicide in this country in the early years of this decade.
Provisional data in the office’s annual report showed Limerick City, Cork City, Kerry, and Wexford recorded the highest suicide rates from 2011-2013. The highest rate in the State was in Limerick City, where there were 21.1 deaths per 100,000 population — almost twice the national average of 11.4 deaths per 100,000. Kerry had the second highest rate at 19.7 deaths, followed by Wexford (19.4) and Cork City (16).
Rates are calculated on a three-year moving average to smooth out short-term fluctuations and highlight longer-term trends. It showed there were 541 deaths by suicide in 2012, falling to 475 in 2013 and 459 last year. The annual number of deaths by suicide in the Republic peaked in 2011 with 554. On average males account for four out of five deaths by suicide.
“Ireland’s suicide rate is not high by European comparison. However, suicide rates among young males and females are high,” said National Office for Suicide Prevention director Gerry Raleigh.
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