A study of the Irish system of recording suicide deaths
Corcoran, P. & Arensman, E.
Background: Many studies have examined the reliability of national suicide statistics. Aims: To examine the Irish system of certifying suicide deaths and data collected by it. Methods: Data were recorded from a police form (Form 104) completed and sent to the Irish Central Statistics Office (CSO) after all inquested deaths that occurred in Ireland in 2002. Results: Of the approximately 1,800 inquested deaths, 6% (and 4% of suicides) were not included in routine mortality statistics because of late registration. Of the 495 deaths thought by the police to be suicide, 485 (98%) were so recorded by the CSO. Information relating to medical history and contributory factors was provided in just 54% and 34% of suicides, respectively. Suicide deaths showed significant variation by weekday (excess on Mondays) and calendar month (summer peak). The peak suicide rate (35 per 100,000) was among men aged 25-34 years. Persons separated, living alone, and unemployed had significantly elevated suicide rates. Conclusions: There is a need for a better understanding of national suicide recording systems, as this study has provided for Ireland. Such systems may routinely provide data relating to sociodemographic factors but not relating to medical and psychosocial factors.