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Report highlights link between suicide rates and economic downturn

A study of 190 suicides in Cork highlights that almost a third of suicide victims worked in construction trades.

Image: armin_vogel via Flickr

A PILOT STUDY has underlined a formal link between the economic downturn and the level of suicide in Ireland.

Research published today by the National Suicide Research Foundation, investigating the circumstances surrounding 190 deaths in Cork, showed that almost a third of suicide victims worked in construction and related businesses, which bore the brunt of the downturn.

“These findings show that some occupational groups in Ireland are associated with an increased risk of suicide,” the Suicide Support and Information System report said.

The report also showed that 38.1 per cent of suicide victims studied were unemployed – a figure in obvious disproportion to overall figures showing that 14.9 per cent of the general public is unemployed.

81 per cent of victims had been in contact with their GP or a mental health service in the year before their death; of those, two-thirds had been in touch with their GPs four times or more in the 12 months before they died.

While 41 per cent had been offered outpatient appointments with mental health services, almost half of these were unable  to take up these appointments.
56.6 per cent of suicide victims had been using prescription medication for a mental disorder in the year prior to their death, but the report found that almost half of these – 46.4 per cent – had not complied with the instructions supplied.

The report studied 178 cases in Cork city and county in which inquests returned a verdict of death by suicide, as well as another 12 cases in which open verdicts were returned, between September 2008 and March 2011.

The study was part-funded by the HSE’s National Office for Suicide Prevention.

If you have been affected by the issues discussed in this article please call Aware at 1890 303 302 or the Samaritans at 1850 60 90 90, or email jo@samaritans.org.

Read: Disposable income in poor households falls 18 per cent

More: Suicide in Ireland increased by 7 per cent last year

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Gavan Reilly

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