According to provisional figures, the recorded number of suicides in Ireland fell to its lowest in at least 20 years last year.
Last year, there were 340 suicides recorded, which is a rate of 6.8 per 100,000 people. This is a decrease from the year before (2019) where 421 suicides were recorded, which is 8.6 per 100,000 people.
In the year 2018, there were 437 suicides recorded, which is 9.0 per 100,000 people.
The figures, which were contained in the 2020 annual report from the National Office of Suicide Prevention, should be taken with caution, according to the chief scientist with the National Suicide Research Foundation at University College Cork Professor Ella Arensman.
With many coroner’s inquests being postponed along with the delay of many postmortems, she stated that there was likely to be late registrations of suicides for last year.
It’s understood that the 2019 and 2018 figures are also preliminary, with late-registered suicides yet to be added.
In the years going back to 2012, where both preliminary and late-registered deaths are published, suicides that were registered later had increased preliminary figures by between 39 and 81.
Arensman added that the figures from last year belie the warnings that Covid-19 restrictions and concerns would result in a surge in suicides.
She said that suicide rates have remained steady throughout the pandemic in most higher-income countries such as Ireland while pointing out that most of the countries had at least one suicide prevention strategy, such as Ireland’s Connecting for Life which spent over €7 million on grants to agencies working in suicide prevention and mental health awareness.