New report indicates a stabilisation in suicide and self-harm rates

CSO figures show there were 487 deaths by suicide in 2013

New report indicates a stabilisation in suicide and self-harm rates

People take part in the annual Darkness into Light fundraising event, with dawn walks at 20 locations around the country in a show of support for suicide prevention | Image: Photocall

A new report from the Health Service Executive (HSE) is showing a stabilisation in suicide and self-harm rates in Ireland.

The National Office for Suicide Prevention has published their annual report for 2015.

Its partner organisation, the National Suicide Research Foundation, is also publishing its Registry of Deliberate Self Harm report.

The most recent confirmed figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) indicate there were 487 deaths by suicide in 2013.

The office says while the overall rates for suicide in Ireland are relatively low by European comparison, the suicide rates among young people under-25 is of "significant concern".

In 2015, the National Self-Harm Registry recorded 11,189 presentations to hospital due to self-harm nationally, involving 8,791 individuals.

However, is says there is a continued increase in methods of self-harm with higher lethality among both men and women.

"Suicide prevention is a challenge which all of us in society have to take on board", it says.

In 2015, the Government launched Connecting for Life - the national strategy to reduce suicide 2015-2020 - which sets out a vision of an Ireland where fewer lives are lost through suicide, and where communities and individuals are empowered to improve their mental health and wellbeing.

A 10% reduction in the rates of suicide by 2020 is identified as the minimum objective for the strategy.

Greatest investment to date

Welcoming the publication, Minister of State for Mental Health Helen McEntee said: "Suicide prevention is everyone’s concern and the Government is committed to the implementation of Connecting for Life and reaching our 10% target for the reduction in suicide by 2020."

"These reports highlight not only the rates of suicide and self-harm in Ireland, but also the high level of evidence based activity – from many different services and supports – in progressing the roll out of our national suicide prevention strategy."

"While I welcome the stablisation of suicide and self-harm rates in 2015, every death is one too many.

"I am particularly concerned about the high rates of suicide and serious self-harm incidents in young people. I would like to highlight the work of the new Taskforce on Youth Mental Health in helping to ensure long-term, quality and accessible youth supports around the country.

"The taskforce has already met twice, with representatives of the public, private, community and voluntary sectors, and it will be supported in its work by a youth representative panel."

The report also outlines that the National Office for Suicide Prevention received an increase of approximately 20% on the 2014 budget.

This brings the office's total budget to €11.87m - representing the Government’s greatest investment to date in suicide prevention in a calendar year.

Anyone affected by the content of this article can call the Samaritans on 116 123, or visit samaritans.org

A list of mental health services is available here