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New study from the Centre for Suicide Research and Nuffield Department of Population Health shows the number of people visiting hospital for self-harm injuries is 60% higher than previously estimated by Public Health England. Self-harm reportedly cost hospitals in England an estimated £128.6 million in 2013.

Image shows someone holding their bandaged wrist.

This new paper, Incidence and general hospital costs of self-harm across England: estimates based on the multicentre study of self-harm, was published in Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences, it provides the first detailed study of self-harm and associated hospital costs. 

Professor Keith Hawton, Director of the Centre for Suicide Research, Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford said,

Suicide affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and is the leading cause of death in males aged 10-49 years and females age 10-34 years in England and Wales. Approximately half of individuals who die by suicide have a history of self-harm, and hospital presentation for self-harm often occurs shortly before suicide. This highlights the need for primary and secondary prevention interventions that focus on reducing self-harm presentations and on provision of effective aftercare for those who do self-harm.Professor Keith Hawton.

 

The authors of the study estimated that 228,075 hospital visits in England by 159,857 patients (39% male and 61% female) in 2013 were a result of self-harm. The definition of self-harm includes intentional self-poisoning and self-injury. They found that 30% of self-harm related hospital visits by men were by those aged between 40 and 49 and that 28% of hospital visits related to self-harm in women were by those aged 19 to 29. The incidence of self-harm was lower in coastal areas, higher inland, and highest in London. 

Read the NDPH article on the cost of self-harm to hospitals in England.

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