Derry has highest rate of self harm

Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride Pacemaker
Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride Pacemaker

Derry has the highest rates of self harm in the north, a health report has revealed.

The report by the Chief Medical Officer for Northern Ireland, Dr. Michael McBride, places Derry second to Limerick for rates of self harm in cities in the north and south of Ireland and England.

Derry had 623 incidents of self harm per 100,000 people. In comparison Belfast had 563 incidents, Dublin had 358 during 2013/14. In Limerick, the rate stood at 634.

The most common age for women to self harm is between 15 and 19 and for men between 20 and 24-years-old, the report further revealed. Across the north more than 6,000 people attended the emergency department after an incident of self harm. Almost half of these incidents involved alcohol.

Dr McBride said: ‘While we can legislate to reduce the risk and exposure of young people to harmful substances, when the stresses that they face are manifest in self-harming behaviour, other solutions are needed. To help us appreciate the extent of this behaviour, we have introduced a self-harm registry for Northern Ireland to gather and analyse information and provide a linkage to self-harm intervention services.’

Noella McConnellogue, manager of clinical services for Zest, said the report shows more people are coming forward after self harm.

‘In the past it was something that people did privately and tried to manage themselves. Now we are getting more realistic figures because people have to go through their doctor to access services’.

She said it also shows that attitudes to self harming are also changing and there is heightened awareness.

‘There is a realisation these are not bad people they are hurt people.’