Sui­cide rate still well over na­tional av­er­age

The Kerryman (Tralee Edition) - - NEWS - By SI­MON BROUDER

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.

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