thirty-three men and women died by suicide in Limerick last year, according to the most recent figures from the Central Statistic Office.
A total of 28 men and five women died by suicide in Limerick city and county last year, but Limerick deputy Dan Neville believes the true figure is much higher.
The Fine Gael TD and President of the Irish Association of Suicidology, said the national rise of 7% in suicide figures for last year is “extremely concerning”,.
The figures show that 525 people died by suicide in 2011; 439 of them were men and 86 were female.
“These figures also reveal there were 65 undetermined deaths in 2011; combining this with the fact that there are many unidentified suicides such as singular occupancy road crashes means the real number of people who died by suicide last year at over 600,” said deputy Neville.
He said this should be of “extreme concern to all who value life and understand the trauma experienced by those who felt there was no other way out of their crisis than to take their own lives.”
He said two contributory factors which may account for the rise in suicides is the lack of Government funding for mental health services and the lack of suicide prevention programmes over the last few decades. He said the recession, unemployment and financial pressures are also factors amongst men.
“Bearing in mind that up to 80% of those who die by suicide are suffering from a mental health difficulty, this neglect of mental health services is nothing short of scandalous,” he said.
Pieta House, the suicide prevention charity, have recently extended their opening hours in Limerick due to increasing demand.
“I think Limerick, more than any other place where we’ve opened, is not afraid of looking at suicide in the eye and they’re not afraid to seek help,” said Joan Freeman, their chief executive.
The centre in Limerick, which offers counselling free of charge, can be contacted on 061 484444.