The number of people who die by suicide in Ireland has fallen in recent years, according to provisional data contained in the 2018 Annual Report of the National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP).
According to provisional figures provided by the Central Statistics Office, 352 people died by suicide in 2018, compared to 392 in 2017. In 2016, official figures show that 437 people died by suicide.
In 2012, the figure was 577.
The report also compares county suicide rates for three-year periods between 2006 and 2018. It shows that overall, the suicide rate in Ireland between 2006 and 2008 was 10.9 per 100,000 population. For the three-year period 2016-2018, this had fallen to 8.2 per 100,000 (although 2017 and 2018 figures are provisional).
The county area with the highest suicide rate in the 2016-2018 period was Monaghan (17.1 suicides per 100,000 population), followed by Cavan (16.7 per 100,000), Cork city (15.3 per 100,000) and Waterford county (13.9 per 100,000).
The county area with the lowest suicide rate in the same period was Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown in Dublin with 2.4 suicides per 100,000 population. This was followed by Fingal in Dublin (3.2 per 100,000), Dublin city (3.9 per 100,000) and south Dublin (4.2 per 100,000).
Outside of Dublin, the lowest suicide rate for this period was found in Meath (5.8 per 100,000) and Longford (6.5 per 100,000).
While most county areas recorded a fall in their suicide rates between the 2006-2008 period and the 2016-2018 period, a few counties recorded an increase, including Clare, Galway city and Sligo. However, the biggest increase was seen in Monaghan, which recorded 9.8 suicides per 100,000 in 2006-2008 compared to 17.1 per 100,000 in 2016-2018.
Meanwhile, the report noted that while it is difficult to compare suicide rates among different European countries, due to different methods of registration and reporting, Eurostat, which is the statistical office of the EU, provides a comparison.
Its most up-to-date figures relate to 2016 and according to these, Ireland's overall suicide rate is not high by European comparison. In fact, it was the 11th lowest out of 34 countries. However, the rate of suicide among 15-19 year olds in Ireland was the 9th highest out of 33 countries.
The report also provided details of the work of the NOSP throughout 2018, including developments related to the ongoing implementation of Connecting for Life, Ireland's National Strategy to Reduce Suicide 2015-2020.
A key focal point at the launch of the report was the improved provision of free, evidence-informed suicide and self-harm training in communities nationwide.
Last year, almost 13,000 individuals completed programmes such as safeTALK, ASIST and Understanding Self-Harm. The completion of safeTALK and ASIST training is now a requirement of the BA in Applied Policing for all Garda trainees in the foundation programme at Templemore Training College.
The report can be viewed here.
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