Self-harming on the increase among Wigan youngsters
Hundreds of Wigan youngsters were hospitalised for self-harm incidents and mental health conditions last year, a figure much higher than the national average.
According to Public Health England figures, between 2016 and 2017, 325 youngsters aged between 10 and 24 years old were admitted to hospital as a result of self-harm and 96 attended for “mental health conditions”.
The number of those admitted for self-harm alone equated to 606.5 per 100,000 of the population, higher than both England and the North West at 404.6 and 474 respectively.
Despite a significant drop in self-harm hospital admissions since 2013/14, when there were 784.1 per 100,000; the issue still remains a prominent concern for public health officials.
The number of hospitalisations due to “mental health conditions” has gone up over the past four years, with 96 young people admitted in 2016/17, which is 141.5 per 100,000 compared to 43 youths or 60.6 per 100,000 in 2012/13.
Dr Paul Turner, consultant in public health at Wigan Council, said: “The importance of the mental health and wellbeing of our residents is something that we’re extremely keen to raise awareness about.
“We understand that this is an extremely sensitive topic and is different for everybody, however, through our campaign #TogetherWeCan, we are committed to highlighting different avenues of support across the borough and the nation.
“Though we know there is room for improvement, our data for self-harm hospital admissions in young people does show a decrease since 2013/14, which is a trend we’d like to continue through working with our health partners.
“Wigan borough is not unique in having to address this very challenging issue and neighbouring areas like St Helen’s and Warrington are in a similar situation.
“However, it’s important to note that there are a multitude of factors as to why a person may engage with services about their mental health, including the amount of awareness that has been raised across the country in recent months.”
Out of all 23 authorities in the North West region, Wigan was listed with the fifth-highest rate of youngsters with mental health conditions needing hospital treatment.
Blackpool, Warrington, St Helens and Cheshire East all had alarmingly high rates of young people in hospital with for mental health issues. Blackpool had 1,156 admissions per 100,000 for self-harm in the same 12 month period.
Dr Tim Dalton, chair of Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “We are absolutely committed to making sure that the children and young people in our Borough get the right help at the right time when they are struggling with their emotional and mental wellbeing and are working hard to improve local services.
“With our partners, we are implementing a new framework that will help us to make sure that children and young people get support early and continue to be supported in the best way for them.
“This includes having seven new children and adolescent mental health workers based in communities across the Borough. They will be working with schools and college, offering training and support to teachers and taking referrals directly from them which will mean their pupils get the help they need more quickly.
“We have also funded the extension of the rapid mental health assessment and intervention team at the hospital to include children and young people.
"This team has been successfully helping adults for over twelve months and it is great news that we are now able to offer this service to the younger generations. This means that children and young people who attend A&E or are on the paediatric wards will get speedy access to mental health support if they need it.
“On top of these local initiatives, Greater Manchester are also developing a GM-wide crisis support offer that will complement the services we have locally. They will provide additional assessment services, safe zones and rapid response teams.”