Number of suicides in Ireland rose 7% last year, CSO figures reveal
THE NUMBER of suicides registered in Ireland rose to 525 in 2011, an increase of 7 per cent on the previous year, according to data from the Central Statistics Office.
A total of 439 men and 86 women were recorded as having taken their own lives, the majority of whom were aged 15-44.
The figures are contained in the CSO Vital Statistics report for 2011 published yesterday, which collates the numbers of births, deaths and marriages registered in Ireland last year.
President of the Irish Association of Suicidology (IAS) Dan Neville TD said the figures were “frightening but not surprising” given the impact the economy was having on mental health, especially among young men.
“The recession has had a huge impact on people’s wellbeing. Those who lose their jobs, experience a drastic reduction in their income or are in danger of losing their home experience a lot of anxiety, despair and depression. Relationship difficulties and marriage breakdown can follow on from that. We should be identifying and responding to these problems in the community as quickly as possible.” Mr Neville said the true figure for suicides would be closer to 600 when “undetermined” deaths were taken into account.
The IAS is calling for the urgent appointment of a director of mental health services and a new director of the National Suicide Prevention Office to ensure the €35 million allocated to mental health services is spent responsibly.
Joan Freeman, chief executive and founder of Pieta House, which deals with suicide and self-harm , said the figures showed how big a problem suicide was in Ireland.
“There is no doubt that the demand for our services have increased in the last year. We’re seeing a lot more children, those under 18 and also the 26-44 age group,” she said.
The CSO figures also revealed that 74,650 births were registered in Ireland in 2011, a decrease of 326 on the previous year. The average age for women giving birth in Ireland is now 31.8 years, an increase of 0.3 years since 2010 and 1.4 years higher than in 2002.
Two in five births were to first-time mothers, whose average age was 29.8 years. Of the 25,190 women who gave birth for the first time outside marriage, the average age was 27 years.
The highest percentage of births outside marriage was in Limerick city, at 49 per cent, while Galway county and Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown had the lowest at 25 per cent. A total of 1,720 teenagers had babies, 40 of whom were under 16.
There were 28,995 deaths registered in 2011, 78 per cent of which were over 65. Circulatory disease was responsible for 33 per cent of deaths, followed by cancer at 30 per cent and lung disease at 12 per cent. There were 1,695 deaths due to accidents, suicides or other external causes, 73 per cent of which were among males.
A total of 19,879 marriages were registered, and divorce was granted to 2,819 couples.
Samaritans ( samaritans.org), at 1850-609090 (Republic of Ireland) or 08457-909090 (UK, including the North); Pieta House ( pieta.ie), the centre for prevention of self-harm or suicide, at 01-6010000; Console ( console.ie), a charity for the bereaved, free helpline at 1800-201890; and Aware ( aware.ie), helping people with depression, at 1890-303302.