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27 February, 2019

St Patrick’s Mental Health Services and Pieta House urging awareness and education of self-harm ahead of self-injury awareness day

Ahead of this year’s Self-Injury Awareness Day on March 1st, St Patrick’s Mental Health Services and Pieta House are calling attention to recent self-harm figures which highlight that children as young as ten are presenting with self-harm, and that incidences among LGBTI+ young people are twice as high compared to their non-LGBTI+ peers.

In light of these figures, St Patrick’s Mental Health Services and Pieta House are highlighting the need for more education around self-harm and are encouraging the public, particularly parents and those working with young people, to increase their understanding around the issue so they can be better equipped to respond effectively.

  • Pieta House has seen a 23% increase in the number of clients presenting with self-harm since 2017
  • The highest rates of self-harm in both males and females in the first six months of 2018 were among adolescents and young adults (NSRF)
  • There were 6,124 self-harm presentations to hospitals in the first half of 2018, representing a 4% increase from 2017 (National Suicide Research Foundation (NSRF) Interim Report January – June 2018)
  • There was a 21% increase in self-harm in 10-24 year olds between 2007 and 2017 (NSRF)
  • There are twice as many incidences of self-harm in the LGBTI+ community compared to their non-LGBTI+ peers (BeLonG To).

St Patrick’s Mental Health Services, Director of Services, Tom Maher, said:

“The increase in the incidence of self-harm presentations since 2010 highlights the fundamental need for further education, awareness and understanding around self-harm. In reality, the incidences of self-harm are even higher than the recorded figures as many people will not present to hospitals at all; often as a result of the stigma and negative attitudes towards mental health difficulties that are still engrained within Irish society.”

Lena Lenehan, Senior Clinical Director, Pieta House added:

“Pieta House has seen a 23% increase in the number of clients presenting with self-harm since 2017. This is a significant increase and we want to highlight the importance of awareness on self-harm and positive mental health and tackling the stigma surrounding mental health issues.”

As evidenced in the statistics, one cohort in particular with higher cases of self-harm than others is in the LGBTI+ community, where incidences of self-harm are twice as high.

Speaking about the increased risk of self-harm in this group, BeLonG To, the Executive Director, Monnine Griffith said:

"Growing up LGBTI+ can be challenging, particularly when someone is hiding their sexual orientation or gender identity. Discovering and beginning to accept that part of your identity is often associated with a sense of isolation, fear of rejection and confusion. Feelings of anxiety, depression and loneliness are everyday realities for many LGBTI+ young people, resulting in two times the level of self-harm compared to their non-LGBTI+ friends. The presence of a supportive adult can be a lifeline for LGBTI+ young people. Together we can create a safer, more supportive Ireland where all of our young people belong.”

To mark Self-Injury Awareness Day and to raise awareness of the current landscape of self-harm in Ireland, St Patrick’s and Pieta House will once again join forces to host their fourth annual Self-Harm Awareness Conference on March 1st in St Patrick’s University Hospital.

The conference will include presentations addressing self-harm and suicide in young people, opportunities for intervention in self-harm, a practical guide for parents, carers and educators of young people, how youth work reduces rates of self-harm among LGBT+ young people and innovation in understanding and responding to self-harm.”

For further information, visit www.stpatricks.ie or www.pieta.ie

 

Tags:   self-harm   SHAC   Self-harm awareness day