10,000 hospitalised due to self-harm

10,000 hospitalised due to self-harm
Ella Arensman, chief scientist at the NSRF

Almost 10,000 people presented to hospitals in Ireland last year as a result of more than 12,500 episodes of self-harm, according to a new report being launched today.

The National Suicide Research Foundation’s 2018 Annual Report of the National Self-Harm Registry Ireland shows a 6% rise in the rate of individuals presenting to hospital as a result of self-harm last year, compared with the rate in 2017 — and 12% higher than the rate in 2007.

According to the report, the National Self-Harm Registry Ireland recorded 12,588 presentations to hospital due to self-harm last year, involving 9,785 persons.

According to the NSRF, the increase in hospital- presenting self-harm in 2018 was observed across all age groups and for both men and women, and the highest rates of self-harm were consistently recorded in young people.

“The findings of this report show a further increase in self-harm among young people aged 10-24 years, particularly for males, following a 21% increase in rates between 2007 and 2017,” it said.

Last year also saw an increase in the use of street drugs, involved in one in 10 intentional drug overdoses.

Cannabis was the most common street drug recorded, particularly among young men.

Last year, 72% of those who presented following self-harm received a mental health assessment in the hospital emergency department, but there was “considerable variation in the management of self-harm” observed across hospitals.

According to the NSRF: “The trends highlighted in this year’s report underline the need to further develop mental health services in Ireland for individuals engaging in self-harm, particularly young people.

In addition, activities to reduce access to means, early intervention and prevention measures, and regulation of illegal or restricted substances, are critical to reducing the incidence of self-harm in Ireland.

Ella Arensman, chief scientist at the NSRF, said the increasing trend of self-harm among children and adolescents requires an urgent response, while Eve Griffin, NSRF research fellow, said the rise in the incidence of illegal substances in self-harm presentations is of concern.

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