An Irish doctor has come up with a new concept that may help to identify people who are at risk of taking their own lives.

The theory was presented at a conference in Dublin marking World Suicide Prevention Day.

Figures show 525 people took their own lives in Ireland last year and the rate of suicide is increasing.

The conference heard that the almost universal point made by many family members bereaved by suicide is how the person in distress seemed so normal before the event.

Dr Harry Barry, a GP with a special interest in the area, said a new understanding of the risk factors associated with suicide is needed.

He explained a new concept called the "Suicide Cocoon", which is described as the period after someone in distress has decided to take their own life.

Dr Barry said that during this period for a person who has been in distress, their mood may improve, they seem calmer and family members see them as more at ease.

He said experts need to understand this period better to try to prevent more suicides.