More than 400 people treated for self-inflicted injuries in Sunderland last year
Hundreds of people were admitted to hospital in Sunderland for self-inflicted injuries last year, new figures show.
Public Health England figures show that 426 emergency admissions to hospitals in Sunderland in 2017-18 were for intentional self-harm injuries.
The numbers were released as social media sites announced they would clamp down on the sharing of self-harm images.
The figures mean that 157 cases were registered for every 100,000 people in the area – a much lower ratio than the average for the North East, which was 243 per 100,000.
The number of cases last year in Sunderland was a decrease on 2016-17, when there were 431 admissions.
Most of the cases concerned female patients, with 239 admissions of women or girls for self-harm, 56% of the total number.
Sunderland City Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, Coun Dr Geoff Walker, said: “While it is good news that the rate of hospital admissions due to self-harm in Sunderland have been lower than rest of the North East and England for several years, any admission is troubling and of concern.
“A range of mental health services are provided locally and people of all ages are affected by self-harm.
“But, we recognise the particular impact on young people and, in addition, to mental health services there is also an increasing focus on prevention.
“This includes the work of the school nursing team, who provide support on emotional resilience, and the local voluntary sector.
“I would urge people to always speak and share any issues they are having.”
Ann Fox, Executive Director of Nursing, Quality and Safety at NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Self-harm and mental health problems can have a major effect on people’s lives, and we would always encourage people to get help as soon as they feel they need it.
“Help is at hand at any time by calling 0303 123 1145, where support is available 24/7, or by contacting your GP.
“We have a range of mental health services to help and support people in Sunderland, from help at the early stages of feeling unwell to support for people with more complex mental health problems.”
Recently, photo-sharing platform Instagram announced that it would be banning graphic images of self-harm on its site.
The social network’s head Adam Mosseri said the firm recognised it “needs to do more to protect the most vulnerable in our community”.
Across England, the number of self-harm cases has gradually declined since 2013-14. Last year, there were 185 admissions for every 100,000 people.
Suicide rates in Sunderland are also relatively average. Between 2015 and 2017, 77 were recorded, at a rate of 11 per 100,000.
The average across England was 10 per 100,000.
The Samaritans operate a round-the-clock freephone service 365 days a year for people who want to talk in confidence. They can be contacted by phone on 116 123 or by visiting samaritans.org