The revelation comes just days after the body of Limerick schoolgirl Chloe Kinsella was recovered from the river after she went missing.
“We would have three or four everyday, who have attempted suicide. Normally they are teenage girls. This never makes the newspapers because these young people have not died and are not recorded. It’s usually because of bullying and anorexia,” said a hospital source.
“All these cases are missed cases as they are not reported as suicides. Some of them are coming in, having cut their own wrists, or they’ve taken overdoses. They come into the hospital themselves because they are afraid. These kids have to wake up to the fact that once they do enough harm to themselves there is no coming back.”
The source added: “There are a lot that survive the suicide attempt and they come into us as repeat offenders. We would know them by name at this stage. We have regulars. They are taking alcohol and knocking themselves unconscious, then they wake up and come into us to get their stomachs pumped.”
The source said one teenage girl who took an overdose of tablets had to go on the organ transplant list after damaging her liver beyond repair: “I’d love to bring these young people into the morgue and show them the dead bodies just so it might wake them up.”
According to the latest available statistics, compiled by the National Suicide Research Foundation (NSRF), 525 people were known to have died by suicide in 2011.
According to the NSRF’s regional breakdown of suicide (2004-2010), Limerick city and county, at 23.2% has the second highest rate of suicide to Cork city and county at 31.9%.
Meanwhile, Fr Tony O’Riordan, parish priest, Moyross, Limerick, said media reports of three suicides at St Nessan’s Community College in the last few months were incorrect. Last August, Katie Faulkner, 15, (who had attended St Nessan’s) took her life after she and her boyfriend broke up. Her boyfriend, TJ O’Donoghue, 17, from Roscrea, Co Tipperary, not a pupil at the school, committed suicide the following day after hearing the news of Katie.
Chloe and Katie’s deaths are not connected and were not the result of copycat suicide attempts. A teenage boy, Joe Killeen, who had attended St Nessan’s school, died tragically in an accidental drowning last August and did not die by suicide.
“I believe comments made at Chloe’s funeral mass were misinterpreted by some that three pupils from the school had committed suicide. I’m not aware of any others apart from poor Chloe and Katie. Joe Killeen was an accidental death,” said Fr O’Riordan.