Latest Findings from the National Self-Harm Registry Ireland                                                                     

Our latest 2017 findings from the Registry can be found in the graphs, below.

Our 2018 Registry Report can be viewed here.

National Self-Harm Registry Ireland 2018 statistics at a glance

1) Hospital Presentations

For the period from 1 January to 31 December 2018, the Registry recorded 12,588 self-harm presentations to hospital that were made by 9,785 individuals. Thus, the number of self-harm presentations and the number of persons involved were higher to those recorded in 2017.

2) Rate of Self-Harm

The age-standardised rate of individuals presenting to hospital in the Republic of Ireland following self-harm in 2018 was 210 per 100,000. Thus, there was a 6% increase in the age-standardised rate in 2018. 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 2018 was still 12% higher than in 2007, the year before the economic recession.

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 766 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 2018 as a consequence of self-harm. The peak rate for men was 543 per 100,000 among 20-24 year-olds or one in every 184 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 approximately 225 per 100,000, across the 30 to 54 year age range.


4) Rates by City and County

There was widespread variation in the male and female self-harm rate when examined by city/ county of residence. At a national level, the female self-harm rate exceeded the male rate by 21%. The magnitude of this gender difference varied by city/county.

In 2018 high rates for both men and women were seen in Cork City, where the male rate was 1.1 times higher than the national average and the female rate was 38% higher. In Limerick City the male and female rates were approximately twice the national average.

At a national level, the female self-harm rate exceeded the male rate by 19%.


5) Rate by HSE Local Health Office (LHO)

For 2018, the table below details the population (derived by the National Census 2016), 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. There was more than a two-fold difference in the rate of self-harm when examined by LHO area. The rate for men ranged from 104 per 100,000 in Dublin South East to 296 per 100,000 in South Tipperary and for women ranged from 147 per 100,000 in West Cork to 318 per 100,000 inSouth Tipperary.


6) Method of self-harm  

Approximately 62% of all self-harm presentations involved a drug overdose, which was more commonly used as a method of self-harm by women than by men. It was involved in 56% of male and 67% of female episodes. Alcohol was involved in 30% of all cases. Alcohol was significantly more often involved in male episodes of self-harm than female episodes (34% and 27%, respectively).

Cutting was the only other common method of self-harm, involved in 30% of all episodes. Cutting was more common in men (31%) than in women (28%).

Attempted hanging was involved in 9% of all self-harm presentations (12% for men and 5% 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 in Figure 6. 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 38% of presentations by boys and 36% of presentations by girls aged under 15 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, Conal Wrigley, Dr. Paul Corcoran, Niall McTernan, Sarah Nicholson and 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
Email: evegriffin@ucc.i