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Suicide Incidence.

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 29 September 2005

Thursday, 29 September 2005

Ceisteanna (69)

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

62 Mr. Penrose asked the Minister for Defence his views on new research published in a journal (details supplied) and completed with the full co-operation of the Defence Forces showing that the death rate by suicide among Irish soldiers matches that of the national population; his further views on whether this is a surprisingly high figure and whether the creation of safer work places for military personnel by reducing access to weapons would help reduce suicides in the military; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25941/05]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Defence)

As the Deputy's question indicates, the suicide rate within the Permanent Defence Force, PDF, reflects that of the wider national population from which members of the Permanent Defence Force are drawn. Every death resulting from suicide is a tragedy for the family concerned. Therefore, while the suicide rate does not show any apparent excess over the rate for the national population as a whole, there is, however, no room whatever for complacency in the matter. Accordingly, the Defence Forces have adopted a formalised healthy living-mental health well-being awareness programme, which incorporates training modules in stress management skills, mental health well-being, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicide awareness and prevention. The study referred to covered the period 1970-2002. The study reported period-averaged suicide rates per 100,000 population of 18.3 for male civilians in the 20-65 age group as against 15.3 for PDF personnel in the 17-65 age group. All PDF suicides were male suicides. The study reported a period-averaged age-adjusted suicide rate among male PDF personnel that is lower than that of male civilians.

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