Latest Findings from the National Self-Harm Registry Ireland                                                                     

Our latest 2016 findings from the Registry can be found in the graphs, below.

Our 2016 Registry Report can be viewed here.

National Self-Harm Registry Ireland 2016 statistics at a glance

*Click to enlarge images

1) Hospital Presentations

For the period from 1 January to 31 December 2016, the Registry recorded 11,485 self-harm presentations to hospital that were made by 8,909 individuals. Thus, the number of self-harm presentations and the number of persons involved were similar to those recorded in 2015.

YEARNumber% differenceNumber% difference
Number of self-harm presentations and persons who presented in the Republic of Ireland in 2002 - 2016
(2002 - 2005 figures extrapolated to adjust for hospitals not contributing data).

2) Rate of Self-Harm

The age-standardised rate of individuals presenting to hospital in the Republic of Ireland following self-harm in 2016 was 206 per 100,000. Thus, there was a 1% increase in the age-standardised rate in 2016. This increase was not statistically significant. In recent years there were successive decreases in the self-harm rate between 2011 and 2013, and an essentially unchanged rate between 2013 and 2015. The rate in 2016 was still 10% higher than in 2007, the year before the economic recession.

YEARRate% differenceRate% differenceRate% difference
European age-standardised rate (EASR) of self-harm in the Republic of Ireland in 2002-2016 (extrapolated data used for 2002-2005 to adjust for non-participating hospitals).

Person-based rate of self-harm in the Republic of Ireland by gender, 2004 - 2016.


3) Rate of Self-Harm by age and gender

There was a striking pattern in the incidence of self-harm when examined by age. The rate was highest among the young. At 763 per 100,000, the peak rate for women was among 15-19 year-olds. This rate implies that one in every 131 girls in this age group presented to hospital in 2016 as a consequence of self-harm. The peak rate for men was 516 per 100,000 among 20-24 year-olds or one in every 194 men. The incidence of self-harm gradually decreased with increasing age in men. This was the case to a lesser extent in women as their rate remained relatively stable, at about 227 per 100,000, across the 30 to 54 year age range.

Person-based rate of self-harm in the Republic of Ireland in 2016 by age and gender.


4) Rates by City and County

There were significant year-to-year increases in the rate of hospital-treated self-harm in Ireland since the advent of the economic recession in 2008. Despite decreases in recent years, the overall rate has increased by 10% since 2007, from 188 to 206 per 100,000. The male rate has increased by 14% from 162 to 184 per 100,000 and the female rate has increased by 7% from 215 to 229 per 100,000.

There have been notable increases in the male rate of self-harm in Leitrim, Sligo, Carlow and Monaghan. Increases in the female rate of self-harm were observed in Leitrim, Waterford County, Kilkenny and South Dublin.


5) Rate by HSE Local Health Office (LHO)

The maps below ‘Person-based European age-standardised rate (EASR) of self-harm in the Republic of Ireland in 2016 by HSE Local Health Office area’ details the population (derived by the National Census 2011), number of men and women who presented to hospital as a result of self-harm and the incidence rate (age-adjusted to the European standard population) for each LHO area. Thematic maps are also provided below to illustrate the variation in the male and female incidence of hospital-treated self-harm by LHO area.

There was approximately a two-fold difference in the rate of self-harm when examined by LHO area. The rate for men ranged from 86 per 100,000 in Roscmmon to 246 per 100,000 in Cork North Lee and for women ranged from 133 per 100,000 in West Cork to 287 per 100,000 in Dublin South West. The female rate exceeded 240 per 100,000 for Dublin South West, Carlow/Kilkenny, Limerick, Dublin North West and Dublin West. The male rate exceeded 220 per 100,000 in Cork North Lee, Dublin South West and Dublin West.


6) Method of self-harm  

Approximately 67% of all self-harm presentations involved an overdose of medication. Drug overdose was more commonly used as a method of self-harm by women than by men. It was involved in 59% of male and 72% of female episodes. Alcohol was involved in 31% of all cases. Alcohol was significantly more often involved in male episodes of self-harm than female episodes (34% and 29%, respectively).

Cutting was the only other common method of self-harm, involved in 27% of all episodes. Cutting was significantly more common in men (28%) than in women (26%).

Attempted hanging was involved in 7% of all self-harm presentations (11% for men and 4% for women).


7) Methods of self-harm by age and gender

The greater involvement of drug overdose as a female method of self-harm is illustrated below. Drug overdose also accounted for a higher proportion of self-harm presentations in the older age groups, in particular for women, whereas self-cutting was less common. Self-cutting was most common among young people – in 23% of presentations by girls under 15 years and 25% of presentations by men aged under 25 years.


Other Documents

Information on calculating rates of self-harm

Find our Standing Operating Procedures Manual here.

The Registry Team

Dr. Eve Griffin, Professor Ella Arensman, Dr Christina Dillon, Dr. Paul Corcoran, Niall McTernan, Data Registration Officers.

For further information, please contact Dr. Eve Griffin, Manager of the National Self-Harm Registry Ireland, Room 4.28, Western Gateway Building, Room, University College Cork, Ireland.

Tel: +353 (0)21 420 5542