Suicide by occupation in Northern Ireland data published.

03 July 2018

Figures published for the first time at the request of Inspire shed new light on suicide by occupation in Northern Ireland.

Suicide by occupation in Northern Ireland data published.

More people have died by suicide in the past 18 years than were killed during 30 years of conflict. Figures released in November 2017 by the Registrar General confirmed that 297 people were officially recorded as having died from suicide in Northern Ireland in 2016. Records available from 1970 up to the end of June 2017 show that the total number of people known to have taken their own lives has now reached 8,158. The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) data confirms that 221 males and 76 females died by suicide during 2016. Provisional figures compiled by the Registrar General also show a further 164 deaths by suicide were recorded in the first six months of 2017, 125 males and 39 females.

Until now little has been known about suicide by occupation in Northern Ireland. While there is a strong link between suicide and unemployment, no data was available for the industries in which people who died by suicide worked in.

As part of Inspires research on mental health, workplaces and the economy we submitted an open data request in May 2018 to NISRA through the Northern Ireland Open Data portal to find out the number of suicides by occupation. As a result of this request, the data was published for the first time in June 2018. Between 2006 and 2015 more than 730 people who were unemployed committed suicide. This was the highest field for reported suicide deaths and is consistent with UK and global studies on the trends of unemployment and suicide.

The data shows that, in terms of suicide by occupation in NI, the construction industry in NI has more deaths by suicide than other group of people in employment by a significant margin.

Suicide by Occupation

 

2006-10

2011-15

Administrative occupations

45

35

Business and public service associate professionals

16

28

Business and public service professionals

8

14

Caring personal service occupations

38

33

Corporate managers

25

27

Culture, media and sports occupations

15

18

Customer service occupations

7

9

Elementary administration and service occupations

85

68

Elementary trades, plant and storage related occupations

78

98

Health and social welfare associate professionals

24

29

Health professionals

6

9

Leisure and other personal service occupations

9

19

Managers and proprietors in agriculture and services

20

10

Process, plant and machine operatives

45

38

Protective service occupations

23

14

Sales occupations

30

33

Science and technology associate professionals

11

12

Science and technology professionals

8

9

Secretarial and related occupations

10

5

Skilled agricultural trades

27

32

Skilled construction and building trades

133

126

Skilled metal and electrical trades

58

66

Teaching and research professionals

10

11

Textiles, printing and other skilled trades

33

37

Transport and mobile machine drivers and operatives

67

65

Unemployed/unknown

339

399

Total

1,170

1,244

Source: NISRA, Open Data NI Portal 

This sector currently employs 34,790 people, approximately 4.4% of the total workforce and has grown by 7.7% in the past year. Between 2006 and 2015, 259 people who work in construction have died by suicide. This is a total of 10.7% of the figures provided by NISRA across all industries and this figure is consistent with Office for National Statistics figures for suicide by occupation between 2011 and 2015.

 

 

 

 

% change in total

 

Males

Females

Total

Change on quarter

Change on year

Manufacturing

67,230

18,740

85,970

1.4%

4.3%

Construction

29,240

5,550

34,790

0.8%

7.7%

Services

262,120

357,720

619,830

0.7%

2.0%

Other

18,280

4,560

22,840

1.5%

3.0%

Total

376,870

386,570

763,440

0.8%

2.5%

Source: Labour Market Report, June 2018, LMR Headline Table, Table 4, NISRA

 John Conaghan Director of Inspire Professional Services said “As the NI delivery partner for Mates in Mind which aims to raise awareness of mental health in construction our team at Inspire are acutely aware that mental health is a significant issue for this group of workers.  However is worrying to see that it is the second highest sector in which people have died by suicide in Northern Ireland. While this might be the first time these figures have been made available it’s important to recognise there are many construction industry employers already taking steps to support the wellbeing of their employees. In the last week we hosted our inaugural Workplace Wellbeing Awards to recognise these efforts of employers from all sectors across NI and there was a significant construction industry representation at the awards in fact Henry Brothers  were one of the main sponsors of the awards.  

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