Objective: The trends in suicide in Northern Ireland over a 70 year period were examined with respect to sex, age and method used, and then compared with rates of unemployment and homicide.
Method: The records in the office of the registrar general in Belfast were examined to obtain data. Unemployment figures were obtained from the Department of Economic Development.
Results: Suicide is increasing in Northern Ireland and particularly in young men (aged 34 and under). There is a relation to unemployment although it is not felt to be directly causal. Men prefer more violent methods although vehicle exhaust gas is popular. A large number of women still choose drowning.
Conclusions: Despite all initiatives, the suicide rate is increasing in Northern Ireland, in common with many European countries. It represents a major health care issue. Measures of a social or political nature may have more effect than health care advances in reducing the rate of suicide.