Men remain most at risk from suicide
Men in their early twenties and women in their early fifties are most at risk of suicide in Ireland, according to the annual report of the HSE National Office for Suicide Prevention (Nosp).
There were 552 deaths by suicide in 2009, the last year for which figures are available, a rate of 12.4 deaths per 100,000 population.
Suicide is significantly more likely among men than women. It has increased among men from a rate of 8.4 in 1980 to a peak of 23.5 in 1998 to 20.0 per 100,000 in 2009.
The female suicide rate has remained relatively constant, ranging from 4.3 in 1980 to 4.3 in 1998 to 4.9 per 100,000 in 2009.
By European standards, Ireland has the sixth lowest rate of death by suicide compared with the lowest rate of 3.9 in Greece and the highest of 34 in Lithuania.
Nosp invests and works on a range of measures to prevent suicide in Ireland. It funds 42 programmes in 27 organisations such as Console, Samaritans and Pieta House.
In response to the increase in suicide rates, Nosp received an additional €1 million funding from Government in 2011.
This funding was allocated to 22 new projects including dialectical behavioural therapy traning for frontline HSE mental health staff, intervention services for people who engage in suicidal behaviour and a Samaritans project to interlink national mental health and suicide prevention helplines.
Minister of State for Mental Health Kathleen Lynch welcomed the report today and said the Government was committed to improving mental health services and reducing the number of deaths by suicide.
“An additional €3m is being provided this year out of the special €35m announced in the budget for mental health to advance the implementation of Reach Out, the national strategy for action in this area,” she said.
Anyone who is emotionally distressed can phone the Samaritans on 1850 60 90 90 in confidence or visit www.yourmentalhealth.ie, www.letsomeoneknow.ie and www.nosp.ie