Self-harm on roads: Register-based study of methods and characteristics of individuals involved.
Hawton K., Bale E., Casey D.
BACKGROUND: Suicide on roads is receiving increased attention. However, there has been little research on non-fatal road-related self-harm. This study was conducted in order to investigate the characteristics of such acts. METHOD: Information on non-fatal road self-harm was extracted from a self-harm monitoring system database of self-harm presentations to a major general hospital in England during 2005-2017. Patients were identified through being referred for psychosocial assessment by a clinical service and through scrutiny of medical records. RESULTS: During the 13-year study period 110 individuals (67 males, 43 females) presented to the hospital with road-related self-harm: 38 (34.5%) jumped from bridges, 34 (30.9%) jumped or lay in front of vehicles, 27 (24.5%) crashed vehicles and 11 (10.0%) jumped from moving vehicles. Crashing vehicles was more common in males and jumping from vehicles more common in females. In patients who received a psychosocial assessment, their most frequent problems were with a partner, employment and family members. Over half had been in psychiatric care and nearly two-thirds had a history of previous self-harm. Suicide intent was often high, especially in those who crashed a vehicle or jumped from a bridge. LIMITATION: The study was based on presentations to a single hospital. Some data were not available for non-assessed patients. CONCLUSIONS: Road-related self-harm, while not common, more frequently involves males and the acts are often of high suicidal intent. The range of problems preceding this method of self-harm indicates that there needs to be a variety of aftercare interventions, adapted to each individual's situation.