Ireland's suicide rate has stabilised since the economic crash according to a new HSE report.
The annual report from the HSE National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP) notes that provisional data for the past two years indicates that the rate may now be decreasing.
The report found that more than 80% of suicide cases involved men.
The highest rate of suicide was observed among 45 to 54-year-olds – while the lowest was recorded among those aged 65 and older.
In total there were 486 confirmed suicides in Ireland in 2014 – down from a high of 554 in 2011.
Provisional data suggests that there were 399 suicides in 2016, compared to 451 the year before.
NOSP Assistant National Director John Meehan said the downward trend is a “step in the right direction” but warned “we must not forget that every death by suicide is a tragedy and has a devastating impact on families and the surrounding community.”
He said the NOSP has been examining how feasible it is to collect suicide information directly from coroner files in order to paint a more complete picture of the depth of the problem in Ireland.
“Our work in 2016 focused on trying to better understand suicide data and suicidal behaviour,” he said.
“I'm pleased to say that the feasibility study showed that it is technically, operationally and financially feasible to collect this data and I hope that we will be able to continue this important piece of work into the future."
The report found that just over 8,900 people were seen at hospitals in 2016 regarding cases of self harm - a figure that is in line with the 2015 figure.
While there were successive decreases in self-harm between 2011 and 2013 – and essentially no change between 2013 and 2016 – the rate remains 10% than it was before the recession.
Anyone affected by issues raised in this article can contact The Samaritans on 116 123, email firstname.lastname@example.org or get more information here