NEW FIGURES SHOW 525 people took their own lives in Ireland in 2011, an increase of 7 per cent on the previous year.
The figures from the Central Statistics Office show that men accounted for 84 per cent of all deaths by suicide in 2011.
The head of the Irish Association of Suicidology and Fine Gael TD Dan Neville said that there had been an additional 65 ‘undetermined’ deaths in 2011 which could push the real number of people who died by suicide to over 600.
Commenting on the figures, Pieta House, the suicide and self-harm crisis centre, said that it is seeing a lot more children, teenagers, and people in the 26-44 age group.
“The figures released by the CSO are indicators of how big a problem suicide is in Ireland,” said Joan Freeman, the CEO of Pieta House.
She warned that the statistics are ‘not tangible’ and said that Irish society needs to ‘look behind the figures to the people’.
“For the 525 people that took their own lives last year there are almost 27,000 people that have been affected by their deaths. We also need to look at the 70,000 people who self-harm or attempt suicide each year,” said Freeman.
A recent study by the National Suicide Research Foundation which looked at almost 200 cases of suicide in Cork over three years found that the recession has had a direct impact on suicide rates.
People who are unemployed are two to three times more likely to take their lives than people in employment.
Dan Neville said that the neglect of the mental health services coupled with the lack of suicide prevention programmes in recent decades had been contributory factors in the high suicide rates.
“Bearing in mind that up to 80 per cent of those who die by suicide are suffering from a mental health difficulty, this neglect of mental health services is nothing short of scandalous,” said Neville.
The Samaritans are available at 1850 60 90 90 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Other contact numbers which may be helpful: Aware – 1890 303 302; Console – 1800 201 890; Pieta House – 01 601 0000.