Self harm fears

Ambulances outside Wigan Infirmary Accident & Emergency department
Ambulances outside Wigan Infirmary Accident & Emergency department

WIGAN Infirmary is seeing increasing numbers of people attending Accident and Emergency through self-harm injuries.

Figures released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) revealed that the amount of people attending hospital with self-harm related injuries rose by nine per cent last year from the previous year (952 in 2010/11 to 1,041 in 2011/12).

The figures have raised concern and prompted mental health chiefs to reiterate that help is available for anybody in the borough.

A spokesperson for the 5 Boroughs said: “We know that self-harm affects one in 250 people in the UK.

“It is important that people ask for medical and psychological help than try to cope alone with what can be a potentially life-threatening problem.

“Within Ashton, Leigh and Wigan mental health services we support people who self-harm through holistic packages of care which include medical, nursing, psychological and recovery-based components.

“Within this we are also piloting the use of medical skin camouflage creams to combat scars from self-harm as part of personalised care packages.

“If anyone is affected by self-harm they should access help routinely through their GP or by attending A & E in an emergency.

“Our Chief Executive Simon Barber is patron of No Secrets - a peer support group for anybody over 16 years of age who is affected directly or indirectly by self-harm. The Wigan group meets every Wednesday from 6pm to 8pm at Platt Bridge Community Zone. For more information, contact Kerri Jones on 07809 618267.

“Support for those under 16-years-old, including parents, is also available through Young Minds. For more information visit www.youngminds.org.uk or telephone 0808 802 5544.”

Nationally, there were far higher numbers in the North East of England than there were in London, but all areas of the country saw an increase in attendances due to self-harm.

HSCIC chief executive Tim Straughan said: “Today’s figures show the impact of intentional self harm on our society and hospitals - where the result of somebody purposely damaging their body is so serious they need to be admitted to hospital. However, these statistics do not include people who are dealt with solely in Accident and Emergency, or of course those who may self harm but are never treated in hospital.

“Nationally, the number of self harm admissions has not increased markedly on the previous year. But if we analyse patterns in admission by age; it appears there has been a fall in admissions for 15 to 19-year-olds, even though they still make up the biggest proportion of self harm cases coming through the hospital door. In contrast, the statistics point to an increase in admissions among older patients, in particular among patients aged 55 to 59.”