Suicide and self-harm data

Irish suicide data

In Ireland, the decision as to whether someone has died by suicide is a legal determination made by Coroners, not a medical decision by doctors or the HSE and there is a time delay in the availability of data. Following the Coronial investigation, inquest and registration processes, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) publishes national mortality data, including data on deaths by suicide.

Annual data from the CSO is delivered in three stages;

  • Provided firstly by year of registration – “provisional”
  • Revised later, by year of occurrence – “official”
  • Revised later again, to include “late registrations”.

All CSO data on suicide deaths is publicly available on their website www.cso.ie. Some helpful sources include:

European suicide data

Eurostat provides some comparisons of rates of suicide among European countries. These indicators are defined as the crude death rate from suicide and intentional self-harm per 100 000 people. Figures should be interpreted with care as suicide registration methods vary between countries and over time. The use of standardised death rates improves comparability over time and between countries, as they aim at measuring death rates independently of different age structures of populations. Moreover, figures used in these Eurostat comparisons do not include deaths from events of undetermined intent (part of which should be considered as suicides) and attempted suicides which did not result in death.

Eurostat databases are publicly available on their website Home - Eurostat (europa.eu). Some helpful sources include:

Irish self-harm data

Why record self-harm data?

Non-fatal self-harm is a far more common form of suicidal behaviour than suicide and it is one of the strongest risk factors for suicide. Hospital-presenting self-harm is the most severe type of non-fatal self-harm. As a result, reducing the rate of hospital-presenting self-harm is one of the two defined outcomes of Connecting for Life, Ireland’s National Strategy to Reduce Suicide 2015-2024.

What is the National Self-Harm Registry Ireland?

The National Self-Harm Registry Ireland records and reports information about self-harm presentations to hospital emergency departments across the country. The Registry is operated by the National Suicide Research Foundation (NSRF) and is funded by the HSE NOSP. The Registry tells us how many self-harm presentations there are each year. It tells us which groups in the country make the most presentations, when the presentations happen, what type of self-harm is involved, and which areas have the highest rates. By providing this information, the Registry helps to inform the improvement of services for individuals who self-harm and prevention efforts.

What are my data protection rights if I attended hospital with self-harm?

If you attended a hospital emergency department with self-harm, your data may have been recorded by the Registry. Anyone is entitled to contact the Registry to enquire if their data has been recorded. If your data has been recorded, you have the right to request that it is withdrawn. Contact: infonsrf@ucc.ie