A recent surge of suicides in Ireland are being blamed on the recession.
The current debt crisis has seen suicides rise in Ireland by a staggering 25%.
National Officer for Suicide Prevention Geoff Day warned weeks ago that an annual figure of more than 500 suicides would be a “natural disaster”.
The Central Statistics Office has confirmed that 527 suicides occurred in 2009 compared to 424 in 2008.
However the CSO says that the figure could be higher as an additional 195 “deaths by undetermined intent” were recorded, many of which were possible suicides.
Day said that international evidence concludes that the recession is to blame.
The scale of the increase between 2008 and 2009 is most concerning," he said.
"Of particular concern is the fact that the main increase in suicides is in the 25 to 44 year age group. This again is in line with the international research."
International Association of Suicide Prevention president Dan Neville said he was concerned at the level of “deaths by undetermined intent “ in Ireland.
“I am extremely concerned at the level of undetermined deaths which, in some countries, are recorded in the suicide statistics even though the person is not recorded as having committed suicide," he said.
"The figure of 195 would be seen as especially high by international and domestic suicidologists."
Neville called for a review of criteria that is used to determine a suicide verdict in the coroners court.
Neville said a failure to record suicide whereby deaths are undetermined, “does not give full knowledge to the prevention campaigners, researchers and the Government".
Paul Kelly is head of suicide support group Console, he has noticed a huge increase in demand for it’s services.
"We have got waiting lists for people to access professional counselling and support. This increase does not come as a surprise to us. We have noticed on our 1Life helpline for those in suicidal crisis, that there has been a huge increase in the number of people who are finding the impact of the downturn of the economy quite a strain with job losses, financial worry, fear of house repossession and marital strain. They feel a great sense of hopelessness and can’t see a way out,” he said.
Kelly believes that next years statistics will be even higher.
Massive, record-setting waves recorded off of Irish coast during Ophelia