Hospital admissions as a result of self-harm in children and young people

Early identification, accurate diagnosis and effective treatment of mental health conditions can help to prevent self-harm and suicide in children and young people. Self-harm is when somebody intentionally damages or injures their body, and is a common way of coping with or expressing overwhelming emotional distress. Hospital admissions is a useful measure of intentional self-harm and is an indicator of how well we are preventing this suffering from occurring.

What are the trends in hospital admissions as a result of self-harm in children and young people?

The rate of hospital admissions as a result of self-harm in children and young people (aged 10-24 years) increased from 347 per 100,000 population in 2011/12 to 405 per 100,000 population in 2016/17 - a 16% increase. This indicates that self-harm among children has been rising. However, the data does not take A&E admissions into account, so the true prevalence of self-harm could be much higher.

Updated October 2018.

About this data

Definition:
Directly standardised rate of finished admission episodes for self-harm per 100,000 population aged 10-24 years.

Numerator:
Number of finished admission episodes in children aged between 10 and 24 years where the main recorded cause is intentional self-harm.

Denominator:
Mid-year population estimates: single year of age and sex for local authorities in England and Wales (ages 10-24 years).

Caveats are that the data refers to episodes of admission and not persons, and it does not include attendance at A&E.

For more information, please see Public Health England's Indicator Definitions and Supporting Information.

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