The report shows that Covid-19 lockdowns led to a short-term spike in self-harm rates

The highest self-harm rates were recorded among young people in the first year of the pandemic, with women peaking in the 15-19 age group and men between 25 and 29, a new report shows.

Some concerns that the pandemic could lead to a rise in self-harm have not materialized in 2020 and have declined slightly – but in the four months of lockdown from January to April 2021, the rate of hospital-treated self-harm rose 45 per cent, falling in the May to 19 percent as restrictions eased.

The annual report from the National Self-Harm Registry states that this trend of higher rates among young people is consistent with previous years, although 2019 saw the peak rate among males aged 20 to 24.

In 2020, there were 12,553 presentations of self-harm in hospitals involving 9,550 people. The rate of people hospitalized after self-harm in 2020 was 200 per 100,000 people — 3 percent down from 2019. The proportion of people who returned and repeatedly self-harmed increased slightly — to 24 percent by comparison to 22 percent in 2019.

According to the report, as in previous years, intentional drug overdose was the most common method of self-harm, involved in nearly two-thirds of cases. A quarter of the presentations found that the individual was currently employed by HSE psychiatric services. Every twentieth visited either a counseling center or an addiction counseling center. Another 3% of cases were homeless.

dr Paul Corcoran of the National Suicide Research Foundation said: “The data released alongside the annual report is further evidence of a link between the rate of in-hospital self-harm and Covid-19.

“Fortunately, Covid-19 did not lead to an overall increase; The rate in 2020 was 3 percent lower than in 2019 and the rate in the first six months of 2021 was 1 percent lower than in the same period of the 2018 and 2019 years before the pandemic.

“The rate of in-hospital self-harm has been impacted by the Covid-19 surge and associated lockdowns.
These are short-term effects of Covid-19 on hospital-related self-harm. It is important that we assess the impact over the longer term and consider a broader range of suicidal behaviors.”

Prof Ella Arensman of the School of Public Health said that “the persistently high rates of self-harm among children and adolescents underscore the urgency to improve early detection of the risk of self-harm among school staff, parents and peers.

“To achieve this, we need broader implementation of mental health promotion and suicide prevention programs for children and adolescents.”

For assistance, text hello to 50808; Call Samaritans toll free on 116 123 email call Childline on 1800 666666 see, or The report shows that Covid-19 lockdowns led to a short-term spike in self-harm rates

Fry Electronics Team

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