Suicide is on the increase in Ireland – and an expert has warned that the latest official figures only tell half the story.
The latest statistics from Ireland’s Central Statistics Office show a seven per cent increase in suicides in 2011.
The report states that 525 people took their own lives last year, 439 men and 86 women with the majority aged between 15-44.
The Irish Times reports that the figures were contained in the CSO Vital Statistics report for 2011 which collates the numbers of births, deaths and marriages registered in Ireland.
President of the Irish Association of Suicidology (IAS) Dan Neville told the paper that the figures were ‘frightening but not surprising’.
He also warned that the economic downturn is putting pressure on young men in particular and is a factor in the increase.
Neville added: “The recession has had a huge impact on people’s wellbeing. Those who lose their jobs, experience a drastic reduction in their income or are in danger of losing their home experience a lot of anxiety, despair and depression.
“Relationship difficulties and marriage breakdown can follow on from that. We should be identifying and responding to these problems in the community as quickly as possible.”
Neville also told the paper: “The true figure for suicides would be closer to 600 when undetermined deaths are taken into account.”
Joan Freeman, chief executive and founder of the Pieta House organisation which deals with suicide and self-harm , told the paper that the figures showed how big a problem suicide is in Ireland.
She said: “There is no doubt that the demand for our services have increased in the last year. We’re seeing a lot more children, those under 18 and also the 26-44 age group.”
The new CSO figures reported 74,650 births in Ireland in 2011, a decrease of 326.
The average age for women giving birth in Ireland is now 31.8 years, an increase of 0.3 years since 2010 and 1.4 years higher than in 2002.
There were 28,995 deaths registered in 2011, 78 per cent of which were over 65.
A total of 19,879 marriages were registered, and divorce was granted to 2,819 couples.