Suicide and self-harm in Ireland

Ireland’s overall suicide rate is not high, by European comparison. Looking at the total rate of suicide for men and women of all ages in Ireland:

  • The rate in 2010 was 10.9 per 100,000 of the population, the 11th lowest rate of suicide among the 31 European countries for which data was recorded. 
  • The highest rate was found in Lithuania (32.9 per 100,000 of the population) and the lowest in Greece (3.3 per 100,000 of the population).

Young people

In Ireland, the suicide rates among young males and females are relatively high in comparison to international rates for young people:

  • Taking females and males aged 15-19 years together, the rate was 10.5 per 100,000 of the population, the 4th highest suicide rate in this age group across the 31 European countries studied.
  • The highest rate was found in Lithuania (13.9 per 100,000 of the population) and the lowest in Greece (1 per 100,000 of the population).

Learn more about suicide rates in Europe on theEurostat website.

Suicide rate for men in Ireland

Between the years 2007 and 2011, particularly since the onset of the economic recession in 2008, there was an increase in the suicide rate in Ireland, specifically among men.   The overall increase in suicide in Ireland between these years can be wholly attributed to an increase in the male rate of suicide.

In 2012, 82.3% of all those who died by suicide were men, with the highest rate of suicide among 45 to 54 year old men.  The lowest rate for male suicide in 2012 was in the 65+ age group. The highest rate for female suicide in 2012 was also in the 45 to 54 age group, and the lowest rate for female suicide in 2012 was also in the 65+ age group. (Statistics from the Central Statistics Office.)

Self-harm in Ireland

Data from 122,743 self-harm presentations to hospital in Ireland from 2003 to 2013 held by the National Registry of Deliberate Self-Harm (NRDSH) showed that the rate of use of highly lethal methods of self-harm has increased significantly since 2004, with the greatest increase among those aged 15-29 years.

Latest suicide and self-harm rates

More recent data suggests a stabilisation and modest fall in suicide and self-harm rates.  The 2012 Central Statistics Office (CSO) figures indicate that there were 541 deaths by suicide that year. This represents a decreasing trend from 2011 figures.  Provisional data from 2013 and 2014 suggests a further decreasing trend.Since 2010 there has been a 12% decrease in the overall rate of self-harm presentations to Accident and Emergency Departments. However, this figure is still 6% higher than rates for 2007, before the economic recession.

Support and services

Thinking about suicide or concerned about someone else? Find supportive information at YourMentalHealth.ie. You can also find information on support for self-harm.

Find out more

More detailed information on suicide and self-harm is available the Report of the Research Advisory Group, which was completed as part of the process to develop Connecting for Life.