Suicide is a global public health problem and its prevention continues to provide a major challenge to health and social services at all levels of Irish society. More people die by suicide in Ireland each year than in road traffic accidents. Currently, youth suicide rates in Ireland are fifth highest in the European Union (World Health Organisation, 2005). Older people, especially older men, may also be vulnerable and suicide is affecting increasing numbers of Irish people across the lifespan.
According to the National Parasuicide Registry, over 11,000 cases of deliberate self-harm are seen in the accident and emergency departments of our hospitals annually and many more cases of deliberate self-harm never come to the attention of the health services.
The causes of suicide are complex and are likely to involve an inter-play of psychological, biological, social and environmental factors, sometimes aggravated by a recent personal difficulty. Premature death from suicide has many adverse consequences, not only for the family and friends of those who die but for all of those in the wider community who have to cope with the impact of the tragedy.
The HSE has set up a National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP), responsible for overseeing the implementation of 'Reach Out' the National Strategy for Action on Suicide Prevention. The HSE National Office for Suicide Prevention has set up a dedicated website, you can visit the National Office for Suicide Prevention website here.
The HSE NOSP also co-ordinates suicide prevention efforts around the country, in partnership with agencies and individuals interested and active in suicide prevention. The NOSP works closely with the HSE Resource Officers for Suicide Prevention in place nationwide.