Northern Ireland

Suicide figures for Northern Ireland reveal 237 deaths in 2021

A total of 237 deaths from suicide were recorded in Northern Ireland in 2021.
A total of 237 deaths from suicide were recorded in Northern Ireland in 2021.

SUICIDE rates in Northern Ireland are at their highest level since 2015, new figures show.

A total of 237 deaths were reported in 2021 according to the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra).

This is 18 more (18.2%) than the 219 suicide deaths registered in 2020.

The overwhelming majority of deaths were male at 176 (74.3%) while 61 were female.

Rates for both have been increasing since 2019 – from 19.1 per 100,000 males in 2019 to 21.5 per 100,000 in 2021, compared to 6.0 per 100,000 females in 2019 to 7.3 in 2001.

Men between 25 and 29 and 45 and 49 accounted for the highest group, while for women the highest age group was 20-24.

Nisra figures also show that one in every three suicide deaths last year was someone under the age of 30.

Northern Ireland recorded an age-standardised rate of 14.3 suicides per 100,000 in 2021, which was higher than other UK regions with 14.0 per 100,000 in Scotland and 10.5 per 100,000 in England and Wales.

In the Republic of Ireland, the rate was 8.2 per 100,000.

It should be noted that comparisons with other regions are affected by different data collection methods.

Within Northern Ireland, the Belfast Trust recorded the highest suicide rate at 17.9 deaths per 100,000 in 2021, followed by the Western Trust at 16.0 per 100,000.

The lowest rate was recorded in the Northern Trust area at 10.4 deaths per 100,000.

The most deprived areas had a suicide rate that was nearly twice that of the least deprived areas in 2020 – 19.7 per 100,000 compared to 10.8 per 100,000.

The UK’s official definition of suicide includes deaths due to external causes relating to intentional self-harm and of undetermined intent.

Deaths that are found to be accidental are not included.

Northern Ireland’s mental health champion, Professor Siobhan O’Neill, commented on Twitter: “We never forget that these are the real people, with loving families and friends who are devastated.”

Earlier this year, a new mental health strategy was launched for Northern Ireland which was intended to give strategic direction for services over the next decade.

Professor O'Neill added that the future of the strategy is now in doubt as the Stormont deadlock means funding of increases of £24m for 2023 and £42m for 2024 have not yet been agreed.

For those struggling to cope, help is available around the clock and every day of the year.

For advice about mental health issues, visit

Lifeline operates a free 24-hour crisis response helpline (0808 808 8000) and Samaritans also provide emotional support for anyone in emotional distress or at risk of suicide throughout the UK and Ireland on 116 123 or online at