Report reveals self-harm is above average
AREPORT made on behalf of the Health And Wellbeing Board has shown that Halton selfharm rates are much higher than the national and the North West average.
The research showed that Halton has the fifth highest self-harm rates (which includes overdosing) in the North West for 10 to 24 year olds, and the fourth highest for all ages. In England, Halton has the seventh highest admission rates for all ages (out of 148).
Despite the rates of admissions in 2016-17 appearing to have dropped compared with 2015-16, trends seem to show annual fluctuations. The overall trend at present is showing a slight increase and the gap between Halton and the North West and England is not closing. The report also indicated that, generally, the highest admission rates are in the most deprived areas.
The National Institute For Health And Care Excellence (NICE) has previously reported that social and economic disadvantage is a risk factor for self-harm.
NICE lists other reasons, such as being socially isolated, stressful life events, mental health problems, chronic physical health problems, alcohol and drug misuse, involvement with the criminal justice system and child maltreatment or domestic violence
It has said that ‘self-harm is an expression of personal distress, not an illness, and there are many varied reasons for a person to harm him or herself’ and it defines self-harm as ‘any act of self-poisoning or self-injury carried out by a person, irrespective of their motivation. This commonly involves self-poisoning with medication or selfinjury by cutting.’
The report was conducted after a serious incident review involving a young person who self-harmed and aims to establish if the children’s workforce know what to do when a young person tells them they have selfharmed.
The data presented does not reflect the rate of self-harm in Halton as a whole, only the admissions of self-harm incidents to hospital: it was unable to include data for people who have attended either A&E or primary care and were not admitted to hospital and therefore is likely to be an underestimate of the problem in Halton.
It would be difficult to get a more accurate idea of how many people selfharm or have previously done so, as individuals do not always seek help or advice.
However, the research shown in the report does show that it is a growing problem.
Rates of self-harm in Halton are higher than England and the North West averages for both children and young people and all ages. The rates seem to be increasing in children and young people.
The highest number of admissions for self-harm are in the 15-19 age group, closely followed by 20-24.
Young people aged 20-24 accounted for a third of the total admissions(34%) whilst making up just 17% of the population.
Over the counter painkillers are the most common form of self-harm that leads to hospital admission, with 42.4% of 10-24 year olds, and 33.3% in all ages.
Prescription drugs are the second most used form for all ages at 26.3%, with sharp objects being second for 10-24 year olds at 17.3%. ●
Members of the Health And Wellbeing board and primary and secondary schools were asked to complete a questionnaire on their current practice in response to self-harm admissions.
The audit did identify that the majority of agencies were aware of self-harm and have a pathway in place, and staff are accessing training.
However, suggestions for further development have been suggested: having a consistent and clear pathway for staff to follow and further consideration of how children and young people who self-harm are supported, agencies continuing to utilise training and consideration of which agencies support indiduals in crisis.
The Health And Wellbeing board will be looking to support children’s staff to understand the risk factors associated with self-harm, equipping them to be better prepared to identify where support is needed. Helplines and websites:
Samaritans: 116 123 or email jo@ samaritans.org CALM: 0800 585 858 PAPYRUS: 0800 068 4141
Rates do not include A&E and primary care admissions, so incidents are likely to be greater than reported