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E-mail: vitalstats@cso.ie Carol Anne Hennessy (+353) 21 453 5307 Kieran O Shea (+353) 21 453 5488
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CSO statistical release, 19 September 2014, 11am

Suicide Statistics

2011

Deaths by suicide classified by year of occurrence and sex 2000-2011
YearMale Female Total 
     
200039591486 
200142990519 
200238791478 
2003386111497 
200440687493 
200538299481 
200637981460 
200736296458 
2008386120506 
2009443109552 
201040590495 
201145896554 
     

Rise in the number of suicides in 2011

Fig. 1  Standardised total, male and female suicide death rates 2000-2011 (Per 100,000 population)

  

  • In 2011, there were 554 deaths from suicide in Ireland, 59 more than in 2010 and 2 more than in 2009.  The previous highest number of deaths from self-harm was in 2001 when there were 519 deaths.
  • There were 458 male suicides (or almost 83% of the total) compared with 96 female suicides in 2011.  A similar pattern arises for earlier years, for example, there were 395 male deaths from suicide in 2000 which was over 81% of the overall total of 486 suicides.
  • The age-standardised death rate1 from suicide was 12.1 deaths per 100,000 in 2011, up from 10.9 in 2010.   See table 1.
  • On an age-standardised basis, male suicide rates were five times higher at 20.5 deaths per 100,000 compared with female suicide rate of 4.0 in 2011.  In 2010, the rates were 20.5 for males and 4.1 for females.  In the years from 2000 to 2011, rates were generally between 4 to 5 times higher for men than for women.  See table 1 and fig. 1.
  • Within age groups, male suicide rates were highest in the 45-64 age-group (28 per 100,000) while women’s were highest in the 25-44 age-group (almost 7 per 100,000).  The number of deaths from self-harm decreases after the age of 44. 
  • The most common methods of suicide in Ireland in 2011 were by hanging, strangulation and suffocation (which accounted for 407 or 73.5% deaths), followed by drowning and submersion (46 or 8.3%) and then by self-poisoning (44 or 7.9%).  See table 3.
  • The standardised suicide rate in 2010 (latest available data) was 11.8 per 100,000 of population for the EU-28 Member States compared with 10.9 in Ireland2.  The rate was highest in Lithuania at 32.9 and lowest in Greece at 3.3.  The comparable rate for the United Kingdom was 6.8.  See table 4 and fig. 2.

1Please see the background notes for further information on the calculation of age-standardised rates.
2The figures should be interpreted with care as suicide registration methods vary between countries.  Attitudes to suicide, the level of proof required for a verdict or classification of suicide etc., are also factors to be considered when comparing data between countries.   

 

 

Commentary

Legal determination of the cause of death

The Criminal Law (Suicide) Act 1993 decriminalised the act of suicide.

The average annual number of deaths over the five year period from 2007 to 2011 was approximately 28,000.  In many cases the cause of death is known, i.e. the deceased was under the care of a doctor etc.  In these cases the doctor can fill out the Medical Certificate of the Cause of Death in a relatively straightforward manner as the cause was generally an illness or sickness the deceased suffered.

However, in approximately 20% of all cases (5,000 to 6,000 cases annually) the cause of death is not immediately known and the case is referred to a Coroner.  Deaths from sudden, unexplained, violent and unnatural deaths must be reported and investigated by the Coroner.  The Coroner is an independent office holder with responsibility under the law for the medico-legal investigation.

The Coroner’s investigation may require a post-mortem examination, sometimes followed by an inquest.  The Coroner’s inquiry will establish whether death was due to natural or unnatural causes.  If death is due to unnatural causes then an inquest must be held by law.   An inquest takes place in about 30% of cases referred to a Coroner (some 1,500 to 1,800 cases each year).

 The death will be registered by means of a Coroner’s Certificate when the inquest is concluded (or adjourned in some cases).

As an example, in 2010 there were 27,961 deaths.

  • 22,399 (or 80%) were registered by the local Registrar while 5,562 (20%) went to the Coroner.
  • The Coroner determined the cause of death without any further investigation in 3,698 cases while 1,864 went to inquest.

Statistical Classification - Form 104

A Form 104 is issued by the CSO to the Gardaí in respect of most inquest cases. This form is sent to the Divisional Inspector of the relevant location where the death occurred and is then redirected to the Garda that attended the scene of the death.  The Form 104 collects additional information on the circumstances/location of the death and the information returned on this form is strictly confidential under the Statistics Act 1993.

The Garda completing the Form 104 provides his/her opinion as to whether the death was an accident, homicide, suicide or undetermined. That information is taken into account when the CSO assigns a statistical code for cause of death.

The Form 104 was first issued in October 1967 and revised in 1998 following a recommendation by the Taskforce on Suicide, to improve the statistical classification of deaths by suicide.  A copy of the revised version of the form is included in the background notes.

Cause of Death Determination Process

The mortality coder in the CSO examines both the Coroner's Certificate and Form 104, where applicable, to determine the statistical classification of the cause of death.

If the Coroner's Certificate states that the death was by suicide and provides enough information to assign a statistical cause of death code, it is not necessary for the CSO to issue a Form 104 to the Gardai. If there is not enough information provided by the Coroner's Certificate then it is necessary for the CSO to issue a Form 104.  When assigning a cause of death code,  if the Coroner's Certificate does not mention suicide but the Garda states on Form 104 that the death was as a result of intentional self-harm, the statistical cause of death is coded as suicide. 

The CSO manually codes and checks all deaths involving an inquest to ensure that the statistical code is correctly assigned.

The classification system used for cause of death is the World Health Organisation's International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10).

 

 

EU-28Standardised suicide death rate
Lithuania32.9
Hungary25.6
Latvia20.8
Slovenia20.3
Belgium18.7
Croatia18.1
Finland17.8
France17
Estonia16.8
Poland16.6
Austria15.2
Czech Republic14.5
Romania13.7
Sweden12.4
Slovakia12
Denmark11.9
Bulgaria11.8
Germany11.8
EU-28 Average11.8
Ireland10.9
Luxembourg10.9
Portugal10.5
Netherlands9.7
Malta7.9
Spain6.8
United Kingdom6.8
Italy6.3
Cyprus4.7
Greece3.3
Table 1 Unadjusted and standardised suicide death rates by year of occurrence and sex, 2000 - 2011
      Rates per 100,000 populaton
YearDeaths Crude Standardised
All Persons     
2000486 12.8 12.9
2001519 13.5 13.6
2002478 12.2 12.2
2003497 12.5 12.6
2004493 12.2 12.3
2005481 11.6 11.5
2006460 10.8 10.8
2007458 10.5 10.4
2008506 11.3 11.3
2009552 12.2 12.3
2010495 10.9 10.9
2011554 12.1 12.1
      
Males  
200039521.020.9
200142922.422.5
200238719.919.9
200338619.519.5
200440620.220.0
200538218.518.0
200637917.917.8
200736216.516.4
200838617.217.1
200944319.619.5
201040520.220.5
201145820.220.5
   
Females  
2000914.85.0
2001904.74.9
2002914.64.7
20031115.56.0
2004874.34.6
2005994.84.9
2006813.84.0
2007964.44.4
20081205.35.7
20091094.85.0
2010903.94.1
201196 4.2 4.0
Table 2 Deaths by suicide classified by age-group and sex, 2007-2011
Age-group20072008200920102011
      
  All   
      
All ages458506552495554
under 25 9997878994
25-44193214256212246
45-64127156169171180
65-843938402233
85 and over01011
      
  Males   
      
All ages362386443405458
under 25 8372727778
25-44154175209176198
45-6491113134135151
65-843425281730
85 and over01001
      
  Females    
      
All ages961201099096
under 25 1625151216
25-443939473648
45-643643353629
65-845131253
85 and over00010
      
Table 3 Deaths from Intentional Self-harm (suicide) by method classified by year and sex, 2007-2013
MethodSex       
  200720082009201020112012*2013*
PoisoningMale23282927261919
Female20181811181413
Total43464738443332
Hanging, strangulationMale248267323312344316322
and suffocationFemale47776550636254
Total295344388362407378376
Drowning and submersionMale51354229363622
Female2418202110135
Total75536250464927
Hand gun/firearm dischargeMale22292917272023
Female0222001
Total22313119272024
Smoke,fire and flamesMale2332531
Female0210002
Total2542533
Steam,hot vapours andMale0000020
hot objectsFemale0000000
Total0000020
Using sharp objectsMale4876575
Female1114221
Total59810796
Jumping from a high placeMale71266843
Female3122233
Total1013881076
Jumping or lying beforeMale2324531
moving objectFemale1000100
Total3324631
Crashing of motor vehicleMale2111120
Female0000000
Total2111120
Other specified meansMale1011110
Female0100000
Total1111110
All Male362386443405458413396
Female9612010990969479
 Total458506552495554507475
Data for 2012 and 2013 is provisional.
Table 4 Standardised suicide death rate 2010 EU-28 Member States (Per 100,000 population)
  Rate   
EU-28 11.8
Belgium18.7
Bulgaria11.8
Czech Republic14.5
Denmark11.9
Germany11.8
Estonia16.8
Ireland 10.9
Greece3.3
Spain6.8
France17.0
Croatia18.1
Italy6.3
Cyprus4.7
Latvia20.8
Lithuania32.9
Luxembourg10.9
Hungary25.6
Malta7.9
Netherlands9.7
Austria15.2
Poland16.6
Portugal10.5
Romania13.7
Slovenia20.3
Slovakia12.0
Finland17.8
Sweden12.4
United Kingdom6.8
 
Outside EU-28 
Iceland12.3
Liechtenstein28.3
Norway11.7
Switzerland 13.0  
FYR of Macedonia 6.7  
Source: Eurostat
Table 5 Late registrations of deaths and number of suicides registered on the authority of the Superintendent Registrars by year of publication
                 
All on time Registered deaths All Late Registered deaths Suicides deaths that were registered lateSuicide by:
Year of publicationYear of occurrence 
 As a % of all late registered deaths 20092008200720062005200420032002200120001999 & priorTotal
 NumbersNumbers              
                 
28,456578254.32011184---2----125
27,961606233.82010-16223------23
28,380688314.52009--255---1---31
28,274712344.82008---27321-1--34
28,117730456.22007----414-----45
28,488726324.42006----12542---32
28,260582122.12005------11---112
28,665520214.02004------11111721
Annex 1 Number of suicides and unadjusted rate per 100,000 population classified by year and sex 1950-2013
YearMale Female Total Male rateFemale rateTotal rate
        
1950631376 4.20.92.6
1951611677 4.01.12.6
1952531366 3.50.92.2
1953501262 3.30.82.1
1954481159 3.20.82.0
1955541468 3.71.02.3
1956651176 4.40.82.6
1957581573 4.01.02.5
1958601777 4.21.22.7
1959551772 3.81.22.5
1960592584 4.11.83.0
1961701989 4.91.43.2
1962411152 2.90.81.8
1963531770 3.71.22.5
1964481058 3.30.72.0
196544751 3.00.51.8
1966521769 3.61.22.4
1967541872 3.71.22.5
1968561571 3.81.02.4
1969381452 2.61.01.8
197044852 3.00.51.8
1971592281 3.91.52.7
1972652590 4.31.73.0
19737629105 4.91.93.4
19749226118 5.91.73.8
197510444148 6.52.84.7
197612954183 7.93.45.7
19779853151 6.03.34.6
197810657163 6.43.54.9
197914548193 8.62.95.7
198014373216 8.44.36.4
198115865223 9.13.86.5
198217863241 10.23.66.9
198320280282 11.54.68.0
198416468232 9.33.96.6
198521660276 12.23.47.8
198621766283 12.33.78.0
198718560245 10.53.46.9
198819571266 11.14.07.5
198921365278 12.23.77.9
199025183334 14.44.79.5
199128363346 16.13.69.8
199230459363 17.23.310.2
199326067327 14.63.79.1
199430590395 17.15.011.0
199532183404 17.94.611.2
199634564409 19.23.511.3
199738692478 21.25.013.0
199843381514 23.54.313.9
199935897455 19.35.212.2
200039591486 21.04.812.8
200142990519 22.44.713.5
200238791478 19.94.612.2
2003386111497 19.55.512.5
200440687493 20.24.312.2
200538299481 18.54.811.6
200637981460 17.93.810.8
200736296458 16.54.410.5
2008386120506 17.25.311.3
2009443109552 19.64.812.2
201040590495 17.93.910.9
201145896554 20.24.212.1
2012*41394507 18.24.111.1
2013*39679475 17.43.410.3
Please note years 2012-2013 are provisional figures and could still be subject to change.

Background Notes

 

Definition of Suicide

In Ireland, suicide is defined as the act of intentionally killing oneself.  The classification of a death as suicide is based on a Coroner’s report and, where necessary, a report from the Garda that attended the scene. 

 

Civil Registration Act 2004

All deaths occurring in the State must be registered.  The Civil Registration Act 2004 (Part 5 subsection 37) states:

“When a death occurs in the State, it is the duty of

  (a)    a relative of the deceased who has knowledge of the required particulars in relation to the death, and

  (b)   if there is no such relative who can be found or every such relative is incapable through ill health of complying with this subsection, each other qualified informant, unless he or she reasonably believes that another qualified informant has complied with it in relation to the death,

within 3 months from the date of death to give to any registrar the required particulars of the death in the form standing specified for the time being by an tArd-Chlaraitheoir”.

 

Registration

A death is registered with a Registrar of Births and Deaths.  A relative or other eligible person must obtain a Medical Certificate of the Cause of Death from the medical practitioner who attended the deceased. This Medical Certificate has the following information:

Part 1(a)     Disease or condition directly leading to death, (this does not mean the mode of dying e.g. heart failure etc., it means the disease that caused death) due to (or as consequence of)

Part 1(b)     Antecedent Causes   (morbid conditions, if any, giving rise to the above cause stating the underlying condition last due to (or as consequence of)

Part 1 (c)    Further Antecedent Causes

Part 2        Other Significant Conditions (contributing to the death but not related to the disease or condition causing it).

    

A death is registered when a qualified informant (often a spouse or next-of-kin) attends at the office of the Registrar of Births and Deaths and provides the following information:

  • Date and place of death
  • Full name and surname of deceased
  • Marital status of deceased
  • Sex of deceased
  • Age\date of birth of deceased
  • Occupation of deceased

This information is recorded on a death notification form.  The person registering the death must also produce a Medical Certificate of the Cause of Death signed by a doctor who treated the deceased within one month prior to death. 

All deaths that are registered are forwarded electronically by individual registrar’s offices located around the country to the General Register Office (GRO).

Late Registrations

The CSO publishes quarterly and annual statistics on deaths classified by year of registration.  It also publishes annual statistics on deaths by year of occurrence, with a time lag of about 2 years.  The figures in this release are based on year of occurrence unless otherwise stated.

Late registrations, which may occur for a variety of reasons, are not included in the figures.  The most common reason for a late registration of a death is that it is referred to the Coroner for further investigation.

In 2011, for example, an additional 578 deaths were registered in respect of previous years.  Of these, 25 were classified as suicide in the following years:

  • 18 additional suicides in 2009,
  • 4 in 2008,
  • 2 in 2004
  • 1 classified to 1999 or earlier.  

An analysis was carried out in respect of the late registrations of suicide deaths from 2006 to 2011.  The average (mean) time-lag between the occurrence and the late registration of suicide deaths appears to have widened significantly in 2011 but this can be explained by the late registration of one particular death that occurred in 1978 but was not registered until 2011.  The median time-lag appears relatively stable since 2006. See fig. 3 below.

Crude and standardised death rates

 

The crude (or unadjusted) death rate describes mortality in relation to the total population.  Expressed in deaths per 100,000 of population, it is calculated as the number of deaths recorded in the population for a given period divided by population in the same period and then multiplied by 100,000.

The standardised (or adjusted) death rate is the death rate of a population adjusted to a standard age distribution. It is calculated as a weighted average of the age-specific death rates of a given population; the weights are the age distribution of that population. For example:

As most causes of death vary significantly with people’s age and sex, the use of standardised death rates improves comparability over time and between countries. The reason is that death rates can be measured independently of the age structure of populations in different times and countries (sex ratios usually are more stable).

Standardised death rates are calculated on the basis of the 'European Standard Population' revised by Eurostat in 2012 (and published in 2013).

 

Suicide data 1950-2013

The numbers of recorded suicides and crude rates classified by gender from 1950 to 2013 are provided in Annex 1.  Data for 2012 and 2013 are based on date of registration of death.

Data should be interpreted with care and as population changes, attitudes to death from self-harm, the introduction of the Form 104 in 1967 and it's revision in 1998, the Criminal Law (Suicide) Act 1993 and other factors would affect trends over time.

Form 104

Suicide Statistics 2011 Form 104

upArrowHide Background Notes
YearAverage time-lag (Days)Median time-lag (Days)
2006686.69638
2007564.04522
2008775.08625
2009725.19587
2010852.7675
20111295.84680

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