Repeat presentations account for almost 20% of self-harm hospital attendances

Almost one-fifth of people attending at hospitals due to self-harm in the first six months of last year were repeat presentations, while half were aged 30 or under.
Repeat presentations account for almost 20% of self-harm hospital attendances

Almost one-fifth of people attending at hospitals due to self-harm in the first six months of last year were repeat presentations, while half were aged 30 or under.

The National Self-Harm Registry Ireland (NSHRI) interim report for the period January to June 2019 recorded 6,252 presentations to hospital as a result of self-harm - 2% higher than the number recorded for the same period of 2018.

More than half of the presentations were made by females and approximately half of presentations were by people aged under 30.

It shows that 5,142 individuals were treated following self-harm, meaning that 1,110 presentations, or 18% in the six-month period, were repeat presentations.

According to the report, published by the National Suicide Research Foundation: "Drug overdose was the most common method of self-harm, involved in 62% of cases.

Alcohol was involved in 31% of presentations (28% for females and 34% for males)."

Self-cutting was the only other common presentation, involved in 30% of cases and according to the report, "these findings are similar to the equivalent figures for the same period of 2018".

It also said that the highest rates of self-harm for both males and females were among adolescents and young adults.

"The peak rate for females was 777 per 100,000 among 15-19-year-olds," it said.

"The peak rate for males was 519 per 100,000 among 20-24-year-olds. In many age groups, there was little difference in incidence rates by sex.

"The exception was among 10-14 year olds where hospital presenting self-harm was more than three times more common among girls compared to boys.

Presentations by adolescents aged 15-19 years were almost twice as common among girls as boys. This has been a consistent pattern in recent years."

Among older age groups, women were also more likely to present.

"Among 60-64 year old females, the rate of hospital presenting self-harm is almost twice that of males (111 and 59 per 100,000 respectively), which is consistent with the 2018 figures," it said.

As to a geographical breakdown, the report said: "The incidence of self-harm was highest in Community Healthcare Organisation (CHO) Area 5 (South Tipperary, Carlow/Kilkenny, Waterford and Wexford) at 267 per 100,000.

In CHO Area 5, the rate of self-harm in males and females was 24% and 22% higher than the national average, respectively.

"The incidence rate was lowest in CHO Area 6 (Wicklow, Dun Laoghaire and Dublin South East) at 171 per 100,000. In CHO Area 6, the rate of self-harm for males and females was 30% and 16% lower than the national average, respectively."

The report concluded: "In the first six months of 2019, the incidence of self-harm was similar to that of 2018, following a period of increase since 2016.

"Priority should be given to areas with the highest rates of self-harm in terms of the provision of HSE resources aimed at reducing suicidal behaviours.

"At a national level, the findings reiterate the importance of implementing the seven strategic goals of Connecting for Life, Irelands National Strategy to Reduce Suicide 2015-2020."

www.nsrf.ie samaritans.org call 116 123

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