A&E sees 1,000 self harm cases

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Almost 1,000 people presented themselves at Craigavon Area Hospital Emergency Department with signs of self harm in 2013, it has been revealed.

The figures were released by the Public Health Agency (PHA), and showed 964 people presented themselves at Craigavon A&E with incidents of self-harm, while 433 presented themselves at Daisy Hill Hospital, Newry.

Overall in the Southern Health Trust, the age group with the highest number of self-harm presentations was 20-24 year olds, with 224 people aged in that bracket presenting themselves at A&E departments.

The gender balance was quite even across the Southern Health Trust with male presentations slightly higher.

From April 2012 to March 2013, 710 males presented at emergency departments in the Southern Trust, while 687 females were recorded in the same period.

On a broader scale across the country, the Belfast Trust accounted for almost 29% of presentations, South Eastern Trust with 20%, Western Trust 18%, and Northern and Southern Trusts with 17% each.

Brendan Bonner from the PHA oversees the implementation of the registry on a regional basis. “The report highlights the extent of self-harm and suicide ideation in Northern Ireland and demonstrates the challenges to wider society in terms of addressing the related issues. There is a specific challenge for emergency departments in terms of the need for training and understanding of the issues related to self-harm and the need for interface and protocols between mental health services within trusts and the wider community.

“The PHA is committed to continuing to collect the data and report on the findings with the aim of working to develop a comprehensive analysis.

“This will eventually examine a five-year span and highlight some key trends that will develop an even deeper understanding of self-harm.”

If you or someone you know is in distress or despair, call Lifeline on 0808 808 8000. This is a confidential service, where trained counsellors will listen. The helpline is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also access the Lifeline website at www.lifelinehelpline.info