Home > Death by suicide: a report based on the Northern Ireland Coroner’s database.

Bunting, Brendan and Corry, Colette and O'Neill, Siobhan and Moore, Adrian and Benson, Tony and McFeeters, Danielle (2016) Death by suicide: a report based on the Northern Ireland Coroner’s database. Belfast: HSC Research and Development Division, Public Health Agency.

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Why did we start?

Potentially new information, especially relating to the characteristics of those who had died by suicide was made available through the Coroner’s Office. The information made available to us covered deaths that occurred in the years 2005 to the end of 2011.

What did we do?

First we addressed the descriptive characteristics associated with this group of individuals. These descriptive characteristics included information relating to (1) means by which the death occurred (2) gender, age and employment status of the person (3) prior attempts (4) alcohol and prescription use around time of death (5) adverse events (6) use of health services and (7) mental and physical health problems. Second we examined area level residential location in terms of Local Government Districts, and Wards within Northern Ireland. To address this area level of analysis, standardised mortality ratios (SMRs) were used.

What answers did we get?

Results included the following. (1) Around 50% of the sample had either a recorded prior suicide attempt or a record of suicidal thoughts. (2) Over 80% of the sample had a recorded medical prescription. (3) The major adverse event recorded before death was relationship problems. (4) Over 50% of the individuals in this sample were recorded as having been unemployed at the time of death. (5) Approximately 22% of the sample had a recorded mental and physical health condition (comorbidity); with 36% presenting with recorded mental health problems only. (6) Amongst the adult population, over the seven years of the data examined in this report, approximately 1 in every 1000 citizens has taken his or her own life. (7) After adjusting for the residential population within each LGD, deaths from suicide were 40% higher in Belfast than the Northern Ireland average. (8) Differences between Wards indicated that a significant number of Wards had between two and four times the expected number of deaths, and an association with deprivation was evident. (9) In terms of the raw statistics, 82% of deaths which occurred in the 16 to 39 year age group were amongst males. Seventy-four percent of the deaths within the age group 40 to 64+ were males. (10) Stratified age structure (four age groups) within Wards, when adjusted for number of individuals, indicated no difference in the expected number of deaths in the 16 – 39 year old age band and those within the 40 – 64 year old age group.

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Report
Drug Type
All substances
Intervention Type
Harm reduction
March 2016
25 p.
HSC Research and Development Division, Public Health Agency
Place of Publication
Accession Number
HRB (Electronic Only)
Related (external) link

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