Co Wexford has the highest suicide rate
County Wexford has the highest suicide rate in the country per capita according to new figures released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO).
The figures show that over the three year period from 2012 to 2014 the average number of people who died per year by their own hand was 26.66 in the county. The second highest number of deaths per capita was in Kerry (25.66), while in Kildare the average was 24. The provisional figures for 2014 show that 24 deaths recorded in the county in 2014 were by suicide. In total 80 people died by suicide in County Wexford over the three year period.
A CSO spokesperson said the figure is likely to be higher as it can take up to 18 months for deaths to be registered and for inquests to be finalised.
Console Manager Denis O'Connor said the recession had a major effect on people in the county and continues to do so. He said to get an accurate picture on suicide trend statistics are measured over a number of years. Mr O'Connor said in some counties coroners are reluctant to cite suicide as the cause of death which affects the figures, but said County Wexford Coroner Sean Nixon reports deaths accurately.
'We tend to look at it over a five year period. The recession was a big factor. It has had an impact on every community and on every county. Some people were put to the pin of their collar and they died by their own hands.'
Console opened in Wexford town six years ago and provides support to people bereaved by suicide, but its counsellors have also helped people who were planning to take their own lives.
'We are getting more calls from people who are in distress and we help these people. We reach out to people who have been bereaved by suicide. For some people they feel the impact straight away but for others it could be 20 years down the road when some other life event becomes a catalyst.'
CSO figures show that in 2011, the rate of suicide nationally was 11.2 deaths per 100,000 people, with Wexford at 19.9 deaths per 100,000 people. In 2012 33 Wexford people died by suicide. The number of deaths registered as suicide in 2013 for County Wexford were 11.8 per 100,000 people, while the number of deaths registered in Wicklow for the same year was 3.9.
There is no single reason why one region in Ireland has a higher incidence of self-inflicted death over another, however rural isolation, drink or drug abuse, debt, unemployment or the lack of medical mental attention can all play a part.
National Office of Suicide Prevention director Gerry Raleigh said: 'Ireland's suicide rate is not high by European comparison. However, suicide rates among young males and females are high.' The NOSP's annual report shows that Wexford had 19.4 deaths per 100,000 people, which puts it well above the national average of 11.4.
Sean McCarthy of the HSE said statistics on suicide tend to fluctuate regularly.