247 suicides in South Dublin County since 2005

By Mary Dennehy

FIGURES released by the HSE this week report that 247 people from South Dublin County tragically lost their lives to suicide between 2005 and 2015.

However, those working in the community and the area of mental health have claimed that the figures while shocking are sadly not an accurate reflection of the number of people who have died by suicide – as many deaths are not classified as suicides.

Suicide image awareness

The figures, which were released at a HSE Dublin Mid-Leinster Forum meeting on Monday, provide a breakdown of the number of people who lost their lives to suicide since 2005 by local and city authority region.

According to the figures released, 247 people tragically lost their lives to suicide in the past ten years in South Dublin County, with 578 people losing their lives to suicide in Dublin City, 158 in Fingal and 150 in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown.

The total number of people who lost their lives by suicide in the capital between 2005 and 2015 is 1,133.

The figures provide for unsettling reading, with the number of deaths by suicide recorded in South Dublin County jumping from 18 in 2010 to 37 in 2011 – this was the highest number of deaths by suicide in the ten-year period.

Figures for 2014 and 2015, which the HSE has noted are provisional, state that 21 people lost their lives to suicide in 2014 while in 2015, 23 people died.

Tallaght South Sinn Féin councillor Cathal King, who was present at the forum meeting, told The Echo: “These figures are quite shocking, but what’s even more worrying is that a lot of suicides are not documented as suicides, like drug overdoses, for example, or cars crashed on purpose.

Suicide figures for South County Dublin 1

“So, while these figures are quite shocking in their own right they do not reflect the accurate picture and I hope the HSE and Government are aware of that when allocating funding.”

He added: “Every year millions of the mental health budget is not spent and is redirected into different HSE departments.
“This has to stop. Any money allocated to the mental health budget should be spent in mental health.

“Why doesn’t the HSE give it to some of the non-government organisations like Pieta House that are doing the job of the HSE?

“So many people are coming through these organisations and it would be money well spent.”

Tallaght resident Mary McLoughlin, who is the founder of the HOPE suicide prevention drop-in centre in Tallaght, re-iterated Cllr King’s comments about inaccuracies in the figures released.

She said: “So many suicides are not classed as suicides and this has been an issue for quite a long time . . .and needs to be examined or taken into account by the HSE when figures are being released.

“I think in recent years that people in distress are opening up more, but not enough people are opening up.

“People still believe that they will be looked upon differently if they suffer from anxiety or depression, but this is not the case.

“Here at the HOPE centre we offer a confidential service and counselling for anybody who would like to talk with somebody – with all of our services free of charge and there’s no waiting lists.

“I would encourage anybody who would like a cup of tea, a chat or some time with a counsellor to drop into the centre any Tuesday.”

The HOPE suicide prevention drop-in centre opens every Tuesday from 7pm to 9pm in Trustus House on Main Street, Tallaght.

Mary can also be contacted on 087 1363082 or Lucan-based Pieta House on 01) 601 0000.

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