23% drop in suicides among young people

The number of suicides amongst young people has decreased year-on-year.

However we still have the fourth-highest rate of 15- to 24-year-olds dying by suicide in the EU.

New data from the CSO shows 57 people in this age bracket died by suicide last year.

That figure is a drop of 23% on the previous year's figure of 74. Overall, the figures show a 6% drop.

There was a rise in the number of those taking their lives aged between 45 to 54 years.

Suicide prevention and bereavement charity Console's Ciaran Austin says the media have a responsibility when it comes to reporting the deaths of vulnerable young people.

"We would be dismayed sometimes, because sometimes the reporting becomes about a particular group of suicides…Then we make the story about those (particular) circumstances," he said.

"We have a responsibility to report the wider issues connected with suicide."

Mr Austin added said a “real-time” reporting system was needed to allow authorities to react to any upsurge in particular areas at a given time.

“We need significant changes and investment in research as the lack of accurate up-to-date information is impeding our ability to understand and respond to the awful tragedy of suicide in a timely fashion,” he said.

The figures show an encouraging trend with a 40% drop in suicides over two years in the younger 15 to 24 year old age group.

More than eight in every 10 reported suicides is a man.

Mr Austin also highlighted a 26% rise among people in the 45 to 54 age group as a cause of concern.

“This would mirror a rise in calls to our 1800 247 247 helpline from people in this age category,” he said.

“In particular, we saw a huge increase in calls to our rural helpline in 2013 due to the fodder crisis.”

Mr Austin added that it was “alarming” that the rate of suicide was well above the national average in some areas of the country, including Cavan, Carlow, Kerry, Roscommon and Wexford.

Console can be reached at any time on freephone 1800 247 247 or on its website at Console.ie.

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