Middle aged men in Ireland at high risk of suicide

By June Shannon Policy News   |   16th Mar 2018

Middle aged men (40-59 years) in Ireland are more likely to take their own lives than any other age group and self-harm rates among this cohort has also increased, a major new report on men’s mental health has highlighted.

The report ‘Middle-aged men and suicide in Ireland’ examined the reason behind the worryingly high rate of suicide and self -harm among middle aged men here.

Launched this week at the International Men’s Health Symposium in Dublin the report focused on particular groups of middle aged men that are more vulnerable to suicide. These included farmers, gay men, transgender, members of the travelling community victims of domestic abuse and members of ethnic minorities.

The report was funded by the HSE’s National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP) and produced by the National Centre for Men’s Health (NCMH) at the Institute of Technology Carlow. It sets out a series of recommendations for what can be done to reduce suicidal behaviour in middle-aged men.

According to the report, “over the past 10 years, the suicide rate among middle-aged men (40-59 years old) in the Republic of Ireland has been the highest of all age cohorts. Self-Harm rates amongst middle-aged men have also increased in recent years, reaching a high of 207 per 100,000 in 2012. This is of particular concern, considering the higher lethality of suicide acts among males as well as the greater risk of suicide following self-harm amongst males.”

The aim of the report was to explore the factors underpinning the higher suicide rates among middle-aged men at risk of marginalisation and it identified a number of risk factors associated with increased psychological distress among more marginalised groups of middle-aged men.

The Irish Heart Foundation is a member of the Men’s Health Forum in Ireland.

Welcoming the report Mr Enda Campbell, Workplace health promotion officer at the Irish Heart Foundation said, “this report highlights the need for increased support for middle-aged men who struggle with mental health difficulties in Ireland. We know that physical activity is an effective way to improve physical and mental health outcomes. For example, the Irish Heart Foundation’s community programmes can help to increase physical and mental wellbeing.”

The report proposes more effective and gender specific programmes, services, and resources that support the mental health and wellbeing of middle-aged men. It sets out recommendations that cover six key areas: advocacy, connection, communication, education and training, stigma reduction and awareness, and support.

If you need support

– Call 999 if it is a crisis.
– Your GP will refer you to an appropriate HSE service – e.g. primary care psychology, child and adolescent mental health, adult mental health.
– You can also access free, 24 hour helpline support: Samaritans: Freephone – 116 123; Text – 087 2 60 90 90 (standard text rates apply); find your nearest branch at https://www.samaritans.org/your-community/samaritans-ireland-scotland-and-wales/samaritans-ireland 

– Pieta House – 1800 247 247, pieta.ie.
– For information on mental health support services, see yourmentalhealth.ie

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