6% fall in self harm cases last year

The number of self harm cases presenting in hospitals fell by 6% last year, primarily due to a drop in cases involving middle-aged women and men.

The figures also indicate that while the rate of self-harming presentations in emergency departments has fallen for three years in a row, rates of self-harming among girls aged 16 and under continues to escalate.

Dr Siobhan MacHale, chairperson of the national clinical care programme for the management of self harm in the emergency department, said despite the fall in self-harming presentations last year, the rate of people injuring themselves in such a way was still higher than pre-recession 2007 levels.

Last year’s decrease in the figures was due in the main to a fall in cases involving men aged between 40 and 55, and women aged between 40 and 44.

Dr MacHale, who is consultant liaison psychiatrist at the Beaumont Hospital in Dublin, said alcohol was involved in 37% of self-harm presentations last year, and in 40% of cases involving men.

Sundays, Mondays and public holidays were again the days with the highest levels of presentations, and the hours between 11pm and 1am were the most busiest for presentations.

Dr MacHale, who is among the speakers at a two-day annual conference organised by the Irish Association of Suicidology, which opens in Westport today, said one hypothesis for the fall in self-harming among middle-aged men and women last year was because they had been deeply affected by the effects of the recession, which may be easing slightly.


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