40,000 here have been bereaved by suicide since 1970
More than 40,000 people have been bereaved by suicide during almost half-a-century in Northern Ireland.
The rate of death climbed steadily in recent years and has peaked at around 280 deaths annually, the Department of Health said.
Suicide levels increased since the 1998 Good Friday Agreement but Health Minister Jim Wells said the situation would be much worse if efforts had not been made to help.
He said: "I believe our investment in suicide prevention is saving lives."
The death rate in Northern Ireland increased from 1998 to 2007 and has remained relatively high since then at around 280 fatalities annually, Mr Wells said.
He added: "It is estimated there have been over 7,000 suicides in Northern Ireland since 1970. Academics would conservatively estimate that each one of these deaths closely affects another six people. Therefore, over 40,000 people have been bereaved by suicide in the last 45 years."