Shock new stats show number of self-harming children in Sunderland has more than doubled

The number of children self-harming in Sunderland has more than doubled in the last year.
The number of children self-harming in Sunderland has more than doubled in the last year.

The number of children self-harming in Sunderland more than doubled last year.

According to the latest figures, the number of under-18s admitted to A&E with self-inflicted injuries jumped above the 200 mark in 2017/18.

This was an increase of 125 per cent on the previous year.

The data was included in the latest annual report by the Sunderland Safeguarding Children Board.

It said: “Health data shows very high rates of admission for self-harm and attendance at A&E for young people.

“Similar trends are noted in neighbouring authorities, and we are investigating this rise further to better understand and address the needs of our young people.”

The numbers in the paper showed just over half of the self-harm A&E admissions, 51%, were for youngsters aged 13-16.

The remaining 49% were in the 17-18 age bracket.

The increase coincided with an overall 16.5% increase in 2017/18 A&E attendances for accidental and non-accidental injuries to children and young people.

The period also saw a corresponding spike in the numbers referred to Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).

The findings of the report were discussed at the latest meeting of Sunderland City Council’s Health and Wellbeing Board and left council leader Graeme Miller in little doubt of the root cause.

He said: “I’ve no doubt that eight years of austerity is having a massive impact on family life, especially where families have employment issues and children have damage done to them [as a result of that] as much as adults.

“This isn’t just an England and Wales-wide problem, and it’s why austerity needs to come to an end.

“It’s why families need some break from the crippling effect of working two jobs and still not being able to pay the bills.

“All we can do is continue to show these trends and hope the government listens.”

The report covered the first year in action of Together for Children, the organisation set up to run children’s services in Sunderland following a damning Ofsted inspection in 2015.

The report also highlighted that out out 54,474 children and young people living in the city, 24,384, more than two fifths, live in areas classed among the 20 per cent most deprived in the county.

James Harrison, Local Democracy Reporting Service