According to the National Suicide Research Foundation, there are more than 11,000 presentations to Emergency Departments by about 8,500 individuals every year. A conference was organised by Dr Kay Inckle of Trinity College Dublin’s School of Social Work and Social Policy to create more awareness of self-injury.
Pieta House, which provides support to people affected by self-injury, believes up to 60,000 engage in self-injury every year.
Dr Inckle said for most people self-harming was a means of coping with and expressing difficult emotions and experiences.
“It is a human survival mechanism and not something to be ashamed of.
“We need to think of ways of supporting people who hurt themselves and address what might place them at that level of distress,” she said.
“Many services do not provide any training in the area of self-injury at all so they do not know what they are dealing with,” she said.
* Samaritans 1850 609090; www.aware.iementalhealthireland.ie.