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Self Harm

Children hospitalised after self-harming is on the increase

The HSE has said that 960 children aged 10 to 17 years presented to hospital last year with self-harm injuries.

THE NUMBER OF young people with self-harm injuries increased at Irish hospitals last year even though the figure for the population as a whole was down.

The National Registry of Deliberate Self Harm said that a total of 960 children aged 10 to 17 years presented to hospital with self-harm injuries, an increase from 904 in 2011.

The 960 children accounted for a total of 1,118 presentations across the country’s emergency departments.

The number of girls involved in incidents of self harm was more than double that of boys according to the registry, 664 compared to 298.

The figures were contained in a written answer which were released by the HSE to Fine Gael TD Bernard Durkan in response to a parliamentary question.

They contrasted with an overall decline in the incidents of self harm that was outlined in the registry’s annual report published in September.

Almost two-thirds (64 per cent) of all self-harm presentations incolved an overdose of medication.

Self-harm by cutting was the next most common method, accounting for 32 per cent of all episodes.

Attempted hanging was involved in 7 per cent of all deliberate self-harm presentations.

While rare as a method of self-harm, alcohol was involved in 15 per cent of all cases.

Recommended next care

Over half of those treated (53 per cent) were discharged following treatment with 35 per cent of incidents resulting in admission to a hospital ward.

Advice on next care varied depending on the method of self-harm with general inpatient care most common following cases of drug overdose and self-poisoning.

The HSE says that studies carried out on the issue of self-harm among young people showed varying factors at play with a feature common among boys and girls in Ireland being having a friend who had engaged in self-harm and drug use.

Samaritans is available for anyone in any type of distress. You can call them on 1850 60 90 90 in the Republic of Ireland or 08457 90 90 90 in NorthernIreland or by email at

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