Hospital admissions from self harm above national average in Ipswich

Ezra Hewing for Suffolk MIND feature.

Ezra Hewing for Suffolk MIND feature. - Credit: Gregg Brown

Hospital admissions as a result of self harm are above the national average in Ipswich.

Cllr Tony Goldson

Cllr Tony Goldson - Credit: Archant

Information compiled by Ipswich Borough Council from Public Health England reports has revealed 229 people per 100,000 in Ipswich were admitted to hospital as a result of self harm – well above the 191 per 100,000 reported nationally.

In Suffolk, 177 people per 100,000 were admitted to hospital as a result of self harm.

Data from GP practices from 2014/15 revealed that 9.2% of people in Ipswich have reported depression to their GPs – above the 8.1% for Suffolk.

Tony Goldson, chairman of Suffolk’s health and wellbeing board said the figures highlighted the need for access to good mental health services for everyone.

“Although the reason for Ipswich’s higher rate is unclear, we want to ensure that everyone in Suffolk, wherever they live, has access to good mental health services which is why this is one of the health and wellbeing board’s priorities,” he said.

“As part of this work, our suicide prevention strategy, Suffolk Lives Matter, aims to prioritise how we can reduce the risk of suicide, working with clinical commissioning groups, the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust and other partners to offer people the best possible support to improve their mental health.”

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Mental health professionals at Suffolk Mind have reported self harm is a key indicator of mental health concerns, but said there were different reasons why people self harm.

Among them were attempts to control strong emotions or distressing encounters and memories, a cry for help, and self harm could even lead to pleasurable feelings as adrenaline is released.

Ezra Hewing, head of mental health education at Suffolk Mind, said: “At Suffolk Mind we’re keen to help people find healthier alternatives to managing strong emotions and difficult feelings. However, it’s important to recognise that the stigma surrounding self-harm can make it harder for people to seek help. In turn, this increases the risk to physical health which comes with using unhygienic means of self-harming, and the risk that people will have unintended accidents.

“If you’re a parent whose children are resorting to self-harm as a way to cope, it’s natural to feel scared and anxious for your child.

“However, hard as it may be, it’s important to try and keep calm, so that your child feels safe discussing self-harming with you, and will be more open to seeking help from mental health service which can support them.”

In a bid to reduce the numbers having to go to A&E with self harm and mental health concerns, Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group has introduced several schemes.

“In Suffolk in the last few years there has been a significant investment in liaison psychiatry so that patients presenting at A&E with self-harm have a rapid and comprehensive assessment,” a CCG spokesman said. “From September 2016 a new primary care mental health service was established to expand the care and support available to people who are living with common mental health issues such as anxiety, stress and depression.”

Anyone having thoughts of suicide should contact their GP or NHS 111. The Samaritans are available 24/7 on 116 123.

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