THE latest figures released for deaths by suicide and self-harm show that the rate for Limerick City is more than twice the national average.
According to the report by the National Office for Suicide Prevention, which is based on statistics for 2013, the rate in the city of 22.4 per 100,000 is more than double the national average of 10.10 per 100,000.
Limerick Sinn Féin TD Maurice Quinlivan has described the figures as “shocking and upsetting”. He believes a 24/7 crisis intervention services is now essential.
“The figures released in the report by the National Office for Suicide Prevention on the number of deaths by suicide in 2013 make grim and stark reading. 487 deaths by suicide is a shocking figure, as is the high percentage of deaths by suicide amongst males. Suicide in the city can be very public and the rates are simply deplorable,” said Deputy Quinlivan.
“Unfortunately, the reality is that accurate figures for death by suicide are extremely hard to obtain. Many other cases of death by suicide have been recorded as accidental death when the individual may have died by suicide.”
The Limerick politician is of the view that the only way you can get real figures and a true insight as to the actually rate of death by suicide is by listening and talking to the families who have lost loved ones.
8,790 individuals presented with self-harm at hospitals around the country in 2013 according to the National Office for Suicide Prevention.
Deputy Quinlivan says that accident and emergency departments do not offer appropriate care or follow up for those in acute mental distress.
“What is required is the provision of 24/7 crisis intervention services when people most need help and which would offer adequate care saving people’s lives.
“In the Dáil last Wednesday, Sinn Féin sought a cross-party commitment to such 24-7 crisis intervention services, an implementation plan and the delivery of the plan. Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and those independents that supported the government voted against the private members motion.
“The sad reality is that without adequate resources and the provision of proper services for those in acute mental distress, the figures for death by suicide and self-harm will only continue to increase.
“While the number of deaths by suicide and the amount of people engaging in self-harm appear to have levelled off since 2012, there are still vast numbers of people in crisis across the country,” Deputy Quinlivan concluded.
Brian Higgins, who is chief exceutive of Pieta House, the suicide and self-harm charity, pointed out that one in seven of us will face a mental health issue each year and in the last ten years, Pieta House has helped almost 26,000 people.
“We have dealt with more than 4,000 people at our centres across Ireland already this year and more than half of them were under 24 years of age.
“487 deaths by suicide are 487 too many and we of course will continue to play our part in helping to reduce suicide rates by 10 per cent by 2020, as set out by the Government in the ‘Connecting For Life’ strategy,” said Mr Higgins.
“We are deeply committed to our role in the delivery of ‘Connecting For Life’ through the delivery of our resilience programmes in schools, clubs and workplaces, the delivery of counselling for people with active suicidal ideation and active self-harm and the provision of bereavement services to people bereaved by suicide,” he concluded.
by Alan Jacques