Increased pressures caused by Ireland’s economic difficulties could be to blame for over 500 deaths by suicide, according to a new report that is due to be presented to the Oireachtas next week.
The report, which is based on two years of research by a number of organisations in co-operation with Senator John Gilroy, is believed to have found a “noticeable increase” in the number of suicides and incidents of self-harming in Ireland during the period from 2008 to 2012 that can be directly linked to the economic downturn.
The Irish Examiner reports that, in that time, between 305 and 560 people who came under increased pressure because of the recession took their own lives, with between 6,200 and 8,600 more cases of self-harm over the same five-year period.
Senator Gilroy told the paper that the suicide rate tracked the rise in unemployment, with the onset of the recession in 2008 seeing the rate increase from 188 to 200 per 100,000 of population, with a further increase in 2009 and again in 2010 to reach its highest level at 223 per 100,000.
It is also believed that the official figures for recorded suicides could largely underestimate the reality, with many classified as deaths by other means, such as transport accidents, accidental falls, and accidental poisoning.
“There is some evidence that deaths classified as ‘events of undetermined intent’ may contain some deaths which might otherwise be classified as deaths by suicide, but fail to meet the legal standard of proof required at inquest,” said Senator Gilroy.