The 'stripping away of security of employment' through a new job market of 'increased temporary and part-time work is causing greater stresses,' he told the press after speaking to a conference to mark world suicide prevention day which falls today, September 10.
Increased financial pressure on people has created 'new obligations' for institutions in 'the way that people are spoken to,' he said.
'Looking right across not just the European Union but the western world we are stripping away the security of employment where it exists and we are introducing far greater stresses of casualization in both temporary work, in relation to part-time work, in relation to the structure and definition of work itself,' President Higgins said.
More people are now at risk of suicide in Ireland because of economic factors he said. 'What research suggests internationally is that an increase in the at-risk, the pre-disposing factors, are related to economic factors.
'Certainly in Ireland at the present time there is a great deal of additional distress on people in relation to unemployment in relation to poverty and particularly in relation to mortgage distress,' he said.
According to the Irish Times the president said that peer pressure, new technology and a lad culture which involved alcohol abuse and homophobia were other factors in suicide rates.
Stigma over mental health practices also needs to be tackled since it 'keeps people from seeking help,' President Higgins said.
Last week the National Office for Suicide Prevention published a report showing 495 people took their own lives in Ireland in 2010 and 82 per cent were men.
Over 40 per cent were reportedly men under 40 years while there were 12,000 incidents of self-harm recorded in hospital emergency departments.