November 20, 2008

60,000 self-harm cases ‘hidden’ and untreated

Ian McGuinness

There are approximately 60,000 ‘hidden’ instances of people deliberately harming themselves every year, the Director of Research at the National Suicide Research Foundation has said.

Speaking to the Joint Oireachtas Sub-Committee on the High Level of Suicide in Ireland, Dr Ella Arensmann pointed out that while 11,000 incidents of deliberate self-harm are medically treated per annum in Ireland, another 60,000 cases occur where such help is not sought.

Figures given by Dr Arensmann for deliberate self-harm in 2006 and 2007, broken into gender and ages, showed that in each age category (except 85 years and over), women are more likely to hurt themselves. The age bracket (per 100,000 of the population) with the highest incidence of deliberate self-harm among women was those aged 15 to 19. For men, the corresponding statistic was 20 to 24 years.

Dr Arensmann also gave statistics (per 100,000 of the population) for suicide in Ireland, also broken down by age and gender, for the years 2001 to 2005. In every age bracket, significantly more men than women took their own lives.

Once again, the age group of men that had the highest number of suicides was that between 20 and 24 years. However, the corresponding highest figure among females was found in the 50-to-54-years age group.

Posted in Public Health on 19 November 2008