Press Release

Minister welcomes Report of the National Suicide Review Group

Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children, Mr Tim O’Malley, T.D., has today (30th September 2005) welcomed the publication of the National Suicide Review Group Annual Report 2004.

The annual report of the National Suicide Review Group (NSRG) outlines the significant developments and achievements in suicide prevention across the country in 2004. The aim of the report is to facilitate the sharing of information across the health service areas and other sectors regarding suicide prevention projects and to provide accurate and current information on the patterns of death by suicide in Ireland. The report meets a requirement of The Health (Miscellaneous Provisions), Act 2001, which states that the Minister for Health and Children will report annually on the measures taken by health boards to prevent suicides in the previous year.

This report published today indicates that the national suicide rate is currently 12.2 per 100,000 population (for the most recent year for which ‘year by occurrence’ data is available). The rate for 25-29 year old men continues to be the highest. Across the health service areas, there is little regional variation, although the lowest rate has been found in the North-Western Area. “The statistical information contained in this Report is essential in the development of policies and the implementation of measures aimed at preventing suicide. It also helps to identify the groups who are particularly vulnerable,” said Minister O’Malley.

Minister O’Malley also referred to the recently published National Strategy for Action on Suicide Prevention “Reach Out” which was developed the Project Management Unit of the HSE and the National Suicide Review Group and supported by the Department of Health and Children. This strategy will build on existing policy and on the recommendations contained in the Report of the National Task Force on Suicide.

Driving the implementation of the Strategy will be the new National Office for Suicide Prevention, established by the Health Service Executive (HSE) within its National Population Health Directorate. The office is headed by Mr. Geoff Day, formerly Assistant CEO at the North Eastern Health Board, and also Chairman of the National Suicide Review Group. A steering group comprised of key individuals who can offer their expertise to guide the work of the National Office will also be appointed. This steering group will replace the National Suicide Review Group which has now concluded its work. “I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the work of the National Suicide Review Group and to thank the current and past members for their hard work, effort and dedication over the years” the Minister concluded.