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Epidemiology and risk factors for self-harm

Every year, hospitals in England see about 220,000 emergency department presentations for self-harm.

These emergency department presentations are made by around 150,000 individuals, many of whom will present to hospital following self-harm multiple times within a year.

When people present to the emergency department following self-harm, it creates a point of contact between that individual and health/mental health services, and a valuable opportunity for intervention to help address the underlying issues that triggered the self-harm behaviour, and to reduce the risk of further self-harm in the future.

Sex differences in self-harm

Hospital presentations following self-harm are more common in women than in men.

However, the ratio of women to men is around 1.2 to 1, which means that a lot of men also present to hospital following self-harm. The highest overall rate of self-harm is in women aged 15 to 19 years old.