Cork suicide clusters found
A study conducted in Cork has identified two male suicide clusters in the county.
The areas, which were not named, had a total of 19 suicides of adolescent and young adult males aged 14-36 years. They all died between September 2008 and December 2010. The report showed that, overall, 80 per cent of those who took their own lives were male.
The research was undertaken by the National Suicide Research Foundation (NSRF) which is based in Cork and was published in the First Report of the Suicide Support and Information System.
Within one family, three men aged 15-49 years took their lives within a period of 11 months. In addition, two friends, who were both aged 47, took their lives within a period of four weeks and in another case three close friends died by suicide over an eight month period. The first two friends died by suicide within one month of each other and the third friend tried to rescue the second friend but failed to do so. He then in turn took his own life.
The study for the report was conducted in Cork over the period from September 2008 to March 2011 and information was obtained from different sources including information from coroners' records, family informants and health care professionals who had been in contact with the deceased in the year prior to death.
The report found that many of those who had take their lives had very serious issues with alcohol or drugs or both. Researchers found that in the year prior to death, alcohol and/or drug abuse was present in 51.7 per cent of the cases. Among those 78.1 per cent abused alcohol in the year prior to death while 34.4 per cent abused both alcohol and drugs. The report also showed that an increase in alcohol and drug abuse was observed in the year prior to death for 29.9 per cent.
Other findings of the report found that:
*61 per cent had a history of mental disorder in the family;
*81 per cent had been in contact with their GP or a mental health service prior to death;
*46 per cent did not comply with instructions on prescription medication for mental disorder;
*68 per cent had experienced suicidal behaviour by family members or friends at some point in their lives;
*65 per cent had serious relationship problems that lasted more than a year.
In response to the significant findings linking alcohol and drugs to suicide the NSRF recommended that national strategies should increase awareness of the risks involved in the use and misuse of alcohol, starting at pre-adolescent age while they also recommend that national strategies should be intensified to reduce access to alcohol and drugs.
If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts see www.suicideaware.ie, phone Cork Samaritans on 1850-609090 or contact your GP.