Derry has ‘highest self harm rate ‘

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More people self harm in Derry than in Manchester, Leeds, Oxford, Limerick, Cork, Galway and Waterford, according to new research.

The research, carried out by Queen’s University Belfast’s Professor Mike Tomlinson, compared hospital presentations resulting from self-harming in nine cities across Britain, the North and the Irish Republic.

It found that Derry had the highest rate of such presentations, with 611 per 100,000 of the population in 2009, while Dublin, had a rate of 352 presentations in the same year.

The study further found that people in Northern Ireland who grew up in the worst years of ‘The Troubles‘ are more prone to suicide.

The research, which examined death registration data over the last 40 years, found that the highest suicide rate is for men aged 35-44 (41 per 100,000 by 2010) followed closely by the 25-34 and 45-54 age groups. The findings showed that children who grew up in the worst years of violence between 1969 and 1977-78 are the cohort which now has the highest suicide rates and the most rapidly increasing rates of all age groups.

“The rise in suicide rates in the decade from 1998 to 2008 coincide with the move from conflict to peace in Northern Ireland,” Professor Tomlinson said.

“The increase in suicide rates can be attributed to a complex range of social and psychological factors. These include the growth in social isolation, poor mental health arising from the experience of conflict, and the greater political stability of the past decade.

“The transition to peace means that cultures of externalised aggression are no longer socially approved or politically acceptable. Violence and aggression have become more internalised instead. We seem to have adjusted to peace by means of mass medication with anti-depressants, alcohol and non-prescription drugs, the consumption of which has risen dramatically in the period of peace,” he said.