Suicide rate still well over national average
THE suicide rate has fallen significantly in the last six years but it remains well above the national average according to the 2017 report by the National Office of Suicide Prevention.
The report includes a county-by-county break down of suicides from 2004 to 2017 with the rates based on three year moving averages.
According to the figures the suicide rate in Kerry between 2015 and 2017 was 12.3 cases a year per 10,000 population.
That represents a significant fall on 2010 to 2012 – which coincides with the height of the recession, though it must be noted cases are not necessarily related to the effects of the downturn – when the rate in Kerry was 19 per 100,000.
Though there has been a major decline since 2012 the current rate remains considerably above the national average of 8.6.
Jamie Kennelly of the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) in Kerry said the report shows that suicide remains a major issue in the county.
“The report has again highlighted the high incidents of suicide in the county. Suicide remains one of the biggest causes of premature deaths of males in the county of Kerry,” said Mr Kennelly.
“More resources and clinically trained staff are urgently needed to be deployed by the HSE to tackle the issues around suicide and to bring the Kerry figures back in line with the national average, or below the national average if possible. There has been much talk but few resources and staff directed towards the issue of suicide over the austerity years,” he said.
Locally in Kerry the PNA has asked for a number of initiatives to be introduced as soon as possible.
The PNA is seeking the deployment of Crisis Intervention Nurses 12 hours day, seven days a week in Kerry as most suicides occur at weekends and evening/night time.
The deployment of a self harm nurse on night duty in the Emergency Dept. KUH. (a day duty self harm nurse initiative has been very successful deployed in KUH over the past number of years) is also sought.
The PNA also wants to see increased access to publicly funded counselling and cognitive behaviour therapy by trained clinical staff in the county.