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Almost 1 in 2 men who took their own lives had worked in construction

The cases were recorded over four years from around the start of the down-turn in September 2008.

Image: construction via Shutterstock

Updated 22:58

PEOPLE EMPLOYED, OR those previously employed in the construction/production sector accounted for over two fifths of suicide cases recorded over a four-year period, between September 2008 and June 2012. A break-down of the figures shows that of the men who took their own lives, almost half had been working in construction.

Farmers and agricultural workers were second on the list of groups most at risk, at 13.2 per cent. That was followed by those in sales/business development at 8.9 per cent, and students at 8.2 per cent.

In terms of employment status: a third were classified as unemployed; 40.6 per cent were in paid employment; 11.4 per cent were retired; 5 per cent had a long term disability and 3.1 per cent were homemakers.

The figures cover 307 deaths recorded by the Suicide Support and Information System, which published its findings in a report today. Coroner checklists were completed for all cases.

The majority of suicides recorded (over 80 per cent) were men; of those most were single (57 per cent) and 48.6 per cent had been working in the construction sector.

Looking at female cases, most were married or in a long term relationship (46.7 per cent) and a relatively high number had been working in the healthcare sector (26.5 per cent).

‘Cluster’ cases

A number of ‘clusters’ were also identified: the first involved 13 cases that occurred in County Cork over a three month period, from April to June 2011, and covering a 24km radius. As the expected number of cases would have been 1.86, the number represents a 6.9 fold increase in suicide cases.

The second cluster, also in Co Cork, involved seven cases over a two month period within a radius of 28km and represented a 13-fold increase in expected cases.

Recommendations

The report makes a number of recommendations, including that in areas of emerging clusters, “it is recommended to encourage involvement of GPs and other primary care professionals in a response plan and in early identification of people at risk of suicidal behaviour”.

In addition, the report states that given the link between the impact of the recession and the numbers taking their own lives, “suicide prevention programmes should be prioritised during times of economic recession”.

The full report can be viewed at the National Suicide Research Foundation Website >

Originally published 19:10

Read: Suicide rate amongst young people in Ireland fourth highest in EU >

Read: 9,483 people deliberately self-harmed in Ireland in 2012 >

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