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Suicides of more than 470 men in Ireland linked to recession

In 2008, the trend of falling suicide rates started to reverse and self-harm among both men and women has also been rising.

Image: man image via Shutterstock

Updated 3pm

RESEARCH ON SUICIDE rates in Ireland has shown that there were 476 more male suicides than would have been expected during 2008 and 2012 had the recession not happened.

A recent RTÉ investigation revealed the national suicide rate has not exceeded the annual rate of 12.2 per 100,000 of the population since 2004 and the suicide rate was higher in 2001 than any other year after the downturn.

However The National Suicide Research Foundation (NSRF) said that while rates fell between 2001 and 2007, after that self-harm among both sexes has been increasing, as have suicide rates among men in Ireland.

Their analysis shows that in 2008, the first year of the recession, there was a “significant increase” in rates, reversing the previous decreasing trend. The researchers at University College Cork (UCC) compared the rates of suicide and self-harm with the rates that would have been observed had the decreasing trend between 2001 and 2007 continued here.

They found the rate of male suicide by the end of 2012 was 57% higher than it would have been if the recession had not happened. The rate of self-harm among both men and women was also 37% and 26% higher respectively.

Between 2008 and 2012, there were 476 more male suicides than would have been expected during this period had the economic downturn not occurred.

Numbers of self-harm presentations were also higher than would have been expected – 5,029 males and 3,833 females.

There have been similar findings in other countries, including the UK and the US but the NSRF said the impact seems to have been greater in Ireland.

A report in 2013 found that in one third of suicides, the person was unemployed and 42% had worked in the construction and production sectors – those most severely affected by the recession. However other factors, such as a history of self-harm, depression and substance abuse were also prevalent.

NSRF research director Ella Arensman has previously said that the recession was “compounding the problems that the vulnerable were already facing”.

If you need someone to talk to, contact:

  • Console  1800 247 247 – (suicide prevention, self-harm, bereavement)

  • Aware 1890 303 302 (depression, anxiety)

  • Pieta House 01 601 0000 or email mary@pieta.ie - (suicide, self-harm)

  • Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634 (for ages 13 to 19)

  • Childline 1800 66 66 66 (for under 18s)

First published 10.34am

Read: The suicide rate in Ireland was higher in 2001 than in any post-downturn year>
Read: ‘Slam poetry helped me overcome suicidal thoughts’>

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