May 10, 2012

Self-harm a rising concern in Cork

SUICIDE and self-harm are very real issues in Cork.

Figures from the Central Statistics Office show that self-harming in Cork has risen sharply in recent years.

The number of mates presenting to hospital through self-harm in Cork city has nearly doubled — from 265 cases in 2007 to 513 in 2010. In Cork county, they rose from 86 in 2007 to 168 in 2010.

The number of females presenting in Cork city in 2007 was 251, and up to 339 in 2010. Irv Cork county, the figures rose in the same period from 127 to 130.

In the same period, there were 99 officially recorded suicides in Cork city, and 204 in Cork county.

In recent weeks, Minister of State for Mental Health, Kathleen Lynch, has launched three new initiatives to help combat suicide. The initiatives include a handbook on Suicide Prevention in the Community; new national quality standards for suicide bereavement services; and a mental health promotion training programme for staff caring for the elderly.

The Cork North Central TD said: "There is not a community in Ireland that has not been affected by the trauma and despair that surrounds suicide. I recognise the many challenges that lie ahead and I am aware that there are no easy interventions that will guarantee success." "However, I am heartened when I see the excellent collaboration between various organisations and individuals who have worked closely together to produce these excellent resources which, I am sure, will make a difference to many individuals, communities and service-providers. The challenge of suicide prevention is now one of the most urgent issues facing society and I am confident that by working collectively, we can respond to this challenge." The handbook is the first of its kind in Ireland. It contains useful advice on how best to set up a community response group to suicide. It will be available on the National Office for Suicide Prevention website,, and also on the website.

Dr Joan Freeman of Pieta House told the Evening Echo that the statistics around suicide had changed in recent years.

"There has been a slight change in the age range of people. It is mainly people in their late 20s up to early 40s. The recession has had a major impact with people struggling with their mortgages and various bills. What many don't realise is that there are twice as many women likely to attempt suicide but that men are more likely to actually do it because men use more lethal' methods. In reality there is no age or gender barrier," she said.