Re­port re­veals self-harm is above aver­age

Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - - Front Page - BY ABI­GAIL DONOGHUE abi­gail.donoghue@trin­i­tymir­ror.com @abidonoghuee

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

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