More children admitted to hospital for self harm

editorial image

The number of young Wiganers being admitted to hospital for self-harming is rising, concerning new figures have shown.

Data released under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act shows 59 people under the age of 18 went to A&E at the borough’s hospitals for self harm or similar issues in 2015-16, compared to 44 in 2014-15.

The figures also show the increasing problem Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh (WWL) NHS Foundation Trust is facing as there were 28 incidents in A&E in 2013-14.

Some of the admissions include youngsters aged just 11 and staff had to deal with wounds to children’s arms, thighs and abdomens as well as cases of depression.

The figures also include children threatening to self harm but who have not actually carried it out and some cases where there were no wounds found or other medical causes of pain were diagnosed.

The authorities are now urging young people to make use of the mental health services available in Wigan and to discuss their problems.

The figures are revealed as leading children’s charity the NSPCC published its own FOI data showing rising child admissions to hospital for self harm across England and Wales and described the number of young people in A&E as “frightening”.

Coun Jo Platt, portfolio holder for children and young people at Wigan Council, highlighted the Specialist Health and Resilient Environment (Share) joint partnership launched earlier this year with the 5 Boroughs Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

Coun Platt said: “Everyone goes through difficult times in their life and that includes our young people who can face stresses from things such as exams, bullying and problems with friends and families.

“But we are here as a council to support them and let them know they are not alone.

“Share is a perfect example of how, along with our partners at the 5 Boroughs, we can make a difference to young people who are in need of help.”

As part of the Share project a dedicated home, which is registered with Ofsted, has been created with bedrooms that allow young people a place to stay for up to 72 hours with staff on hand 24 hours a day to offer support.

WWL’s figures match a national trend of more and more children and teenagers ending up in hospital for mental health issues and self harm.

The NSPCC’s FOI research found there were nearly 19,000 children across the country hospitalised last year, an increase of 14 per cent over the past three years.

The charity said it was vital more funding was given to confidential helplines and online support services for young people but said the figures also showed many children and teenagers are struggling to cope with the demands of modern life.

Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC, said: “A frightening number of children and teenagers are being driven to self-harm as a way of dealing with unresolved feelings, tensions and distress in their lives.

“Knowing hospital beds are full of young people crying out for help should be a real wake up call to all those that care for the wellbeing of the younger generation.”

Children and young people can contact Childline for free, confidential support and advice 24 hours a day on 0800 1111 or online at www.childline.org.uk