Shocking data for youth wellbeing

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FAR more Wigan teenagers and young adults are being admitted to hospital for self-harm, alcohol and substance misuse than the national average.

New figures released by Child and Maternal Health Intelligent Network show that a rate of 577.6 per 100,000 youths aged 10 to 24 sought medical treatment after deliberately hurting themselves in 2012/13, compared with the national average of 346.3.

A total of 326 youngsters went to hospital, which is significantly higher than in 2011/12, with only 101 admissions.

The number of alcohol-related injuries and conditions is higher than the national average too, with a Wigan rate of 66.3, compared with 42.7 for 2010/11 to 2012/13.

But the actual number of Wigan youngsters involved has dropped from 64 to 45.

However there is a huge difference between the number of young people aged 15 to 24 going to A&E after taking drugs in Wigan and the country as a whole. Nationally the figure is 75.2 per 100,000. In the borough it is 161.1. The number of youths needing treatment after substance misuse has increased from 56 to 62.

There is also a worrying rise in cases of sexually-transmitted infections in Wiganers, from 1,499 youngsters in 2011 to a shocking 1,727. Rates of infection are also disturbingly higher than England the England mean: 45 compared with 34.4.

But good news is that young people’s mental health is improving, with the number of hospital admissions dropping slightly from 43 in 2011/12 to 41 in 2012/13 and is better than the rest of the country.

The rate per 100,000 in Wigan is 60.6, which is significantly lower than the national average of 87.6.

Thankfully Wigan’s child mortality rate is better than the English average.

Prof Kate Ardern, director of public health at Wigan Council, said: “These figures suggest much of the work we are doing to improve the health of children and young people in Wigan is working.

“There are still some serious challenges but I’m pleased we’re seeing improved figures in the areas we have been targeting. We’re now looking to build on this work and make sure every child has the best possible start in life.

“Hospital admissions due to alcohol and substance misuse remain comparatively high but they have reduced because of work we’ve been doing recently with young people. We’re currently re-commissioning our drug and alcohol services.

“We want the new service to prioritise reducing the harm alcohol and substance misuse has on children and young people.

“The rate of STI diagnosis is higher than we would like and above the regional average.

“However, we’ve had great success in reducing teenage pregnancies and our recently remodelled sexual health service should help us reduce the level of STIs.

“We’re working really hard on this with a range of partners including local colleges and Brook Sexual Health Clinics and I’m confident we will see improved results soon.”