High rate of self-harm in York raises significant concerns

Photograph: Anemone123 / Pixabay

A higher number of people aged 10 to 24 are hospitalised for self-harm in York than in other parts of the country, according to a council report.

But the issue of self-harm is not just confined to young people, it affects people of all ages in the city.

Tim Madgwick, chair of the mental health partnership, told a meeting of York’s health and wellbeing board that they were exploring the underlying causes. He said:

  • Self-harm and people presenting at York hospital with those issues is out of kilter for a city with the background of York.

    There’s some significant concerns so it’s not just young people – self-harm is an all age issue and there is ongoing work.

    I will not let that go until we have an answer in relation to why and then what is the what is the the plan to try to address that.

Emotional strain

Self-harm issues have been a really high priority, Mr Madgwick said.

“We’ve had excellent support in relation to trying to get underneath the figures, particularly for young people.”

A report said many people are also unsure how to support young people who self harm, despite its prevalence.

Mr Madgwick added that many who self-harm may have long-term problems that cannot suddenly be reversed, but that he would update the council’s health and wellbeing board at a future meeting on the work being done to help people who self-harm.

Dr Andrew Lee, executive director for primary care at Vale of York CCG, said he has also spoken to GPs about the emotional strain they suffer from looking after young people who are self harming.

He added: “It’s about how do we as a society create a much more supportive environment.”