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Self-harm is common in adolescents in England

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Question

Question: What are the epidemiology and characteristics of self-harm in adolescents in England?

Population: In total, 5205 children and adolescents aged up to 18 presenting with self-harm to general hospital emergency departments. Self-harm was defined as intentional self-poisoning or self-injury, irrespective of motivation and degree of suicidal intent. It did not include events such as hair pulling, risk-taking behaviour or purging.

Setting: Six hospitals in Oxford, Manchester, and Derby, UK; 2000–2007.

Assessment: After presentation with self-harm, most individuals were assessed by specialist psychiatric clinicians. Demographic, clinical and clinical management data were collected by clinicians during the assessment. Data for individuals not having an assessment were extracted by research staff from medical records. Data extracted included age, gender, date and method of self-harm, alcohol involvement, time of presentation, psychiatric history, hospital admissions, psychosocial assessment and aftercare. Repeated self-harm episodes were identified and recorded.

Outcomes: Self-harm.

Methods

Design: Longitudinal study.

Main results: During the study, 5205 children and adolescents presented with self-harm. Most of these individuals were …

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