Rise in Sunderland self harm cases

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MORE Wearsiders are needing hospital treatment because of self-harming, new figures reveal.

According to NHS Statistics, there were 1,233 cases of self-harming from September 2011 to August 2012 – up 50 from 1,183 during the same period the year before.

The North East had the highest number of hospital admissions in the country – three times more than London.

County Durham had the highest number of admissions for the North East, with 1,535 between September 2011 and August 2012.

Sunderland had the second highest number of admissions – 1,233.

Health chiefs today said they would be looking at new measures to tackle the problem.

Ian Holliday, strategic lead for Mental Health for NHS South of Tyne and Wear, said: “In Sunderland we are working closely with our partners including Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, NHS City Hospitals Sunderland, NHS Foundation Trust and mental health charity Washington Mind, and will be concentrating resources in the new year into looking at how mental health issues and self harm are managed within an Accident and Emergency setting.

“We will be strengthening the Liaison Psychiatry Team, raising awareness of the issues to the public and bringing our partners closer together to devise a joint approach to tackle the problem.

“As part of this, a Suicide Prevention Conference and Training Programme is being launched for employers, front-line staff and voluntary sector service providers at the Stadium of Light on February 20.”

The figures show that of those admitted, the biggest increase was the number of 45- to 49-year-olds, with a 61 more to August 2012, than for the same period the previous year, and there were more men admitted within that age group up from 40-94.

Another rise was in the number of 15 to 19-year-old girls, with 26 more admitted than the previous year – a total of 113 girls.

Mr Holliday added: “We recognise self- harm is a significant and complex issue, the causes of which are wide ranging.

“It manifests itself very differently from person to person and relates to attentionseeking behaviour, a cry for help or suicidal tendencies.”

Health and Social Care Information Centre chief executive Tim Straughan said: “The figures point towards a very clear difference in admission rates per 100,000 population for self-harm in some parts of the country, with the North East of England recording triple the rate of admissions according to population size than the capital.”

Twitter: @Monica_Turnbull