Drop in Registered Suicides in the City

Figures released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show that there was a significant decrease in the number of registered suicides in Waterford City in 2013.

There was only one registered suicide in Waterford City in 2013, and while this figure is subject to future revision, it is a sharp fall from eight registered suicides in 2012.

Sean McCarthy, Regional Suicide Resource Officer for the South East, described this as “encouraging” news. “It certainly looks positive. It’s very encouraging in Waterford City with all that has been going on within Waterford over the last few years,” said Mr McCarthy.

In total there were nine suicides registered throughout Waterford in 2013 (eight in Waterford County); the lowest number across the six Munster counties.

Mr McCarthy believes that a greater level of openness on mental health issues in recent years has made it easier for people to look for support.

“I feel there’s much greater openness over mental health. I think there are many people contributing to this by coming out and speaking of their difficulties, like people in the entertainment business, sporting world or high profile business people.

“Certainly Wayne [Hutchinson] would be well know in the area, as a Waterford Senior footballer and high profile hurler with Ballygunner.

“He has come out and he has spoken about these issues. He would be one of many across the country who have done this, and that’s all to be very welcomed. It gives an opportunity for people to open up about their own mental health difficulties.”

Mr McCarthy also points to the growing stream of support services in the South East as vital to helping people overcome mental health issues.

A Suicide Prevention Action Plan was launched in Waterford in 2008, and has been has led to a greater level of co-ordination between the statutory and voluntary sectors.

“For instance”, Mr McCarthy added, “we have been able to target the seven neighbourhoods in the City, and in relation to community leaders who are active in their community, we have been able to provide them with training to identify people who may be at risk and support people who may be at risk.”

The Self Harm Prevention Programme (SHIP) is one of the services provided by the HSE, a counselling service for people feeling suicidal, contemplating suicide, or who may have harmed themselves.

“We also now have got a counselling service which is available through GPs and other health professionals, and this is a pre-service to everybody, this has proven very successful and is available across the South East. There are no waiting lists, it’s free at the point of entry, and available to people 16 years and over,” Mr McCarthy concluded

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