Early identification, accurate diagnosis and effective treatment of mental health conditions can help to prevent self-harm and suicide in children and young people. Self-harm is when somebody intentionally damages or injures their body, and is a common way of coping with or expressing overwhelming emotional distress. Hospital admission rates are a useful measure of intentional self-harm, and an indicator of how well we are preventing this suffering from occurring.
Rates of hospital admission as a result of self-harm in children and young people (aged 10-24) are considerably higher for females than males. Between 2012/13 and 2018/19, the rate for females rose from 508 per 100,000 population to 690 per 100,000 population – an increase of 36%. However, in males the rate has remained roughly constant, fluctuating around 200 admissions per 100,000 population over the same time period. It is worth noting that this data does not take A&E attendances into account, so the true prevalence of self-harm could be much higher.
There are large regional variations in the rate of hospital admissions as a result of self-harm in children and young people. This may be due to differences in prevalence or variations in clinical management of self-harm. In 2018/19, the South West had the highest rate of admissions at 679 per 100,000 population. The rate was lowest in London at 196 admissions per 100,000 population.
About this data
The data for this indicator is produced by Public Health England's National Child and Maternal Health Intelligence Network (ChiMat).
Definition: Directly standardised rate of finished admission episodes for self-harm per 100,000 population aged 10-24 years.
Numerator: Number of finished admission episodes in children aged between 10 and 24 years where the main recorded cause is intentional self-harm.
Denominator: Mid-year population estimates: single year of age and sex for local authorities in England and Wales (ages 10-24 years).
Caveats are that the data refers to episodes of admission and not persons, and it does not include attendance at A&E.
For more information, please see Public Health England's Indicator Definitions and Supporting Information.