Hospital admissions as a result of self-harm in children and young people

We look at the rate of hospital admissions as a result of self-harm in children and young people.

Indicator

Last updated: 29/06/2022

Primary and community care Mental health Children and young people

Background

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.


What are the trends in hospital admissions as a result of self-harm in children and young people? 29/06/2022

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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 2020/21, the rate for females rose from 508 admissions per 100,000 population to 682 per 100,000 population – an increase of 34%. However, in males the rate has remained roughly constant, fluctuating around 200 admissions per 100,000 population over the same period. This data does not take A&E attendances into account, so the true prevalence of self-harm could be much higher.


How does the rate of hospital admissions as a result of self-harm in children and young people vary by age group? 29/06/2022

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Rates of hospital admission as a result of self-harm in children and young people are considerably higher for children and young people between the age of 15-19 than children aged 10-14 years and young people aged 20-24 years. Between 2011/12 and 2020/21, the rate for the 15-19 years age group increased from 469 per 100,000 population to 653 per 100,000 population, a 39% increase. By contrast, the rate of hospital admissions as a result of self-harm in the 10-14 years age group has fluctuated at 220 per 100,000, and the 20-24 years age group has fluctuated at 400 per 100,000 since 2013/14. 

This data does not take A&E attendances into account, so the true prevalence of self-harm could be much higher.


About this data

The data for this indicator is produced by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities’ National Child and Maternal Health Intelligence Network (ChiMat).

Chart: What are the trends in hospital admissions as a result of self-harm in children and young people?

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.

Chart: How does the rate of hospital admissions as a result of self-harm in children and young people vary by age group?

Definition: Crude rate finished admission episodes for self-harm per 100,000 population.

Numerator:

Number of finished admission episodes in children where the main recorded cause is intentional self-harm. Age groups 10-14 years, 15-19 years, 20-24 years.

Denominator:

Local authority figures: Mid-year population estimates: Single year of age and sex for local authorities in England and Wales; estimated resident population

For more information, please see the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities’ Indicator Definitions and Supporting Information.

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