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Young black females in three UK cities have higher rates of self-harm than other ethnic groups but are less likely to be referred for psychiatric care

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What is the age- and gender-specific prevalence of self-harm by ethnic group in UK cities, and does access to specialist assessment and care vary according to demographic factors?


The general population (aged 16–64 years) served by five hospitals in three UK cities. Data on the population in the hospitals' catchment areas was obtained from the 2001 Census.


General hospitals in Manchester, Derby and Oxford, UK; January 2001 to December 2006.


Computerised records were used to identify cases of self-harm presenting to emergency departments during the study period. Data on ethnicity were collected by the assessing clinician or were recorded from hospital patient record systems and were available on 75% of patients. Participants classified as ‘South Asian’, ‘Black’ or ‘White’; other ethnic groups were excluded from this study due to low numbers. The proportion of individuals re-presenting with self-harm within 12 months of their index case was assessed.


Emergency department presentation with intentional self-poisoning or self-injury (prevalence per 1000 person years). No exclusions were made according to motivation or degree of suicidal intent. …

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