New reports launched today 4th October, indicate that rates of suicide and self-harm in Ireland have stabilised in recent years, and highlight the need for evidenced and targeted prevention approaches across multiple sectors.
The HSE’s National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP) 2017 Annual Report and the National Suicide Research Foundation (NSRF) Self-harm Registry Ireland 2017 Annual Report will be launched today by Minister of State at the Department of Health with special responsibility for Mental Health and Older People, Jim Daly TD. The launch event will also showcase the first Self-harm in Irish Prisons Report for 2017, from the Irish Prison Service.
HSE NOSP 2017 Annual Report
The NOSP report shows that in 2015 there were 425 suicide deaths in Ireland (486 deaths in 2014). The majority, 335 (79%) of these, were men. This high male to female ratio has been a consistent feature of deaths by suicide over the years. The highest rates of suicide were observed among 45-54 year-olds (men) and 55-64 year olds (women).
Irelands overall suicide rate in 2015 was 10th lowest of 33 European countries. Although for young people (aged 15-19), it was 7th highest of 33 European countries. Provisional suicide data for 2016 and 2017 indicate downward trends.
Mr John Meehan (HSE Assistant National Director, Head of NOSP & Mental Health Strategy & Planning) said “These downward trends are welcomed, but suicide remains a complex issue requiring evidenced and targeted approaches and interventions across many different sectors. Connecting for Life, our national strategy to reduce suicide is now in its most effective period of implementation. Our focus in 2017 and ongoing, remains supporting, informing and monitoring the strategy’s collaborative implementation”.
The NSRF National Self-Harm Registry Ireland 2017 Annual Report
In 2017, the National-Self Harm Registry Ireland recorded 11,600 presentations to hospital due to self-harm nationally, involving 9,103 persons. The rate of individuals presenting to hospital following self-harm was 199 per 100,000 – 3% lower than in 2016 and 11% lower than the peak rate in 2010. However, the rate in 2017 was still 6% higher than in 2007. Despite this stabilisation, the Registry continues to identify groups at risk for self-harm and self-harm repetition.
Dr Eve Griffin, Manager, National-Self-Harm Registry Ireland, National Suicide Research Foundation states that: “The increase in self-harm among young people signals an unmet need in terms of mental health services for children and adolescents. Effective interventions are needed for young people at risk of self-harm. School-based programmes to promote positive mental health should also be a priority”.
Dr Paul Corcoran, Head of Research, National Suicide Research Foundation, states that: “The Registry reports on referrals for patients who are discharged from the emergency depart following a self-harm presentation. Obtaining information on subsequent care pathways for self-harm patients should be prioritised in order to better assess their outcomes.”
The IPS Self-Harm in Irish Prisons 2017 Report
This is the first report on episodes of self-harm recorded in Irish Prisons arising from the innovative Self-Harm Assessment and Data Analysis (SADA) Project, for 2017. The SADA project was developed by staff in the Irish Prison Service (IPS), in collaboration with the National Office for Suicide Prevention and the National Suicide Research Foundation.
This first report from the SADA project represents an initial step in understanding and learning valuable lessons for the future protection of people in the care of the IPS. It is intended that this report will be published on an annual basis and that the availability of reports over a number of years will contribute to a longitudinal analysis of self-harm data which can only increase and improve our responses to maintaining safer prisons.
Michael Donnellan (Director General, Irish Prison Service) said "I welcome the publication of today's report. The issue of suicide and self-harm is a major concern in today's society, and this problem is even more emphasised in a prison setting where people are separated from family, friends and community supports. The Self-Harm Assessment and Data Analysis (SADA) Project allows the prison service to take an in-depth look at this issue and hopefully reduce incidents in the future".