Latest Findings from the National Self-Harm Registry Ireland                                                                     

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

Our 2017 Registry Report can be viewed here.

National Self-Harm Registry Ireland 2017 statistics at a glance

*Click to enlarge images

1) Hospital Presentations

For the period from 1 January to 31 December 2017, the Registry recorded 11,600 self-harm presentations to hospital that were made by 9,103 individuals. Thus, the number of self-harm presentations and the number of persons involved were higher to those recorded in 2016.

YEARNumber% differenceNumber% difference
Number of self-harm presentations and persons who presented in the Republic of Ireland in 2002 - 2017
(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 2017 was 199 per 100,000. Thus, there was a 3% decrease in the age-standardised rate in 2017. 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 2017 was still 6% 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 2002-2017 (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 758 per 100,000, the peak rate for women was among 15-19 year-olds. This rate implies that one in every 132 girls in this age group presented to hospital in 2017 as a consequence of self-harm. The peak rate for men was 505 per 100,000 among 20-24 year-olds or one in every 198 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 216 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 2017 high rates for both men and women were seen in Cork City, where the male rate was 1.4 times higher than the national average and the female rate was 50% higher. In Limerick City the male and female rates were approximately twice the national average.


5) Rate by HSE Local Health Office (LHO)

For 2017, 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 107 per 100,000 in Tipperary North/ East Limerick to 234 per 100,000 in Cork North Lee and for women ranged from 133 per 100,000 in West Cork to 308 per 100,000 in South Tipperary.


6) Method of self-harm  

Approximately (65%) of all self-harm presentations involved a drug overdose, and was more commonly used as a method of self-harm by women than by men. It was involved in 58% of male and 70% 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 (33% and 29%, respectively).

Cutting was the only other common method of self-harm, involved in 27% of all episodes. Cutting was more common in men (29%) 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 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 – involved in 27% of presentations by boys and 32% 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, 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