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Dublin: -2°C Sunday 11 April 2021

Up to 560 suicides linked to the recession

That’s according to a report on suicide prevention that will be presented to the Dáil committee next week.

Updated 10.25pm

A REPORT ON suicide prevention has found that up to 560 suicides can be linked to the recession between 2008 and 2012.

Senator John Gilroy, a qualified psychiatric nurse, carried out the research along with a number of organisations over the past two years.

The report, “Challenging Assumption; A Purposeful Conversation”  found,

Between 2008 and 2012 the range of suicides was between 305 and 560 more than would be expected if the pre-recession trend had continued.

There were also between 6,200 and 8,600 more self-harm cases than normal over the same period.

Rates of suicide and self-harm

In 2005 and 2006 unemployment rates stood at 4.3 per cent and suicide rates showed a noticeable stabilising downward trend.

However when unemployment rose to 6.1 per cent in 2008, suicide rates rose to 11.4 per 100,000 of the population.

In 2009 suicide rose to 12.4 per 100,000 of the population. As the unemployment rate increased so too did the suicide rate.

The below graph shows the unemployment rate (brown) and suicide rate (green)


(Challenging Assumptions; A Purposeful Conversation)

Gilroy said his research did not make a link between suicide and unemployment, “Suicide is not linked to unemployment, it’s linked to the recession.”

In 2007 the rate of deliberate self-harm was 188 per 100,000 of the population but in 2008 that number rose to 200 per 100,000.

In 2010 the rate of deliberate self-harm was 223 per 100,000.

Under recorded

Gilroy pointed out the concern of the public and suicide groups that the number of suicides in the country was being under recorded.

Single occupant cars crashing in the night, accidental falls and accidental poisoning are all deaths classified under other means however Senator Gilroy said “sometimes they can share more similarities with suicide than any other death.”


(Challenging Assumptions; A Purposeful Conversation)

Gilroy said that “we need real figures before we can start a purposeful conversation.”

The report will be presented to the Oireachtas Health Committee next Thursday and recommendations will be discussed.


  • Samaritans 1850 60 90 90 or email jo@samaritans.org

  • Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634

  • Console 1800 201 890

  • Aware 1890 303 302

  • Pieta House 01 601 0000 or email mary@pieta.ie

  • Childline 1800 66 66 66

Originally published 1.10pm

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