Minister McEntee, centre, with Mary Kennedy and Ciara Dempsey
THE RATE of suicide in Limerick city has been more than double the national average per capita over a four-year period, a new HSE report shows.
The figures are contained in a new three-year strategy published by the HSE, which aims to tackle self-harm and suicide in the Mid-West, by 2020.
The regional Connecting for Life plan was launched by Minister of State Helen McEntee at the Millennium Theatre, Limerick Institute of Technology, on Monday morning.
According to the report, the rate of suicide in Limerick city increased by 43.9% since 2006. In the 2004-2006 period, there were 16.4 suicides per 100,000 people, while there were 23.6 suicides in the 2013-2015 timeline.
Nationally, there were 10.3 suicides per 100,000 people in 2013-2015.
This dropped dramatically since 2014, when there were 27.2 suicides per 100,000 people.
Limerick county has the lowest rate of suicides in the Mid-West with 9.7 deaths per 100,000.
Speaking at the launch, Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People said: “I am delighted to see that in this HSE Community Health area of the Mid-West that a collaborative approach was taken with counties supporting each other. The Mid-West is long-recognised as a natural region in many facets of life, so it is positive to see this now being utilised to create a shared approach and support system to tackle suicide and self harm.”
Following the national strategy, the HSE worked with 55 people and 41 agencies, as part of the research that create this regional plan. The HSE has identified 120 different goals in the Mid-West that it aims to complete by 2020.
The new statistics show that, in 2015, 317 men and women presented with self-harm injuries in Limerick city, and 201 in Limerick county.
In Limerick city, the rate of self-harm has been considerably high for men and women, aged 20 to 44.
In 2015, there were 118 men and 107 women in this age group presenting with self-harm injuries in the city.
Thirteen males under 20 presented with self-harm injuries, while there were 32 female cases in the city in 2015, the figures show.
HSE Mid-West chief officer, Bernard Gloster said ahead of the launch: “The way in which this plan has been produced is testament to the hard work, dedication and commitment of many people. On behalf of the HSE I thank them all. Preventing suicide and reducing self harm is not by any means simply a health challenge.
“It is one for all of society and our process to date has attempted to reflect that. If this plan is to be effective then our commitment today has to be sustained up to 2020. That is not a choice but a necessity.”
The figures show 21% of presentations were “repeat acts” in Limerick, 4% higher than Clare and Tipperary.
The report stated that alcohol was involved with 45% of self-harm presentations in Limerick city, while it was involved in 40% of county cases.