Self-harm presentations to hospital keep rising

Startling study: A new report shows most people receiving mental health services in the community and hospitals are young people.
Startling study: A new report shows most people receiving mental health services in the community and hospitals are young people.

The numbers of people including youth, who have intentionally self-harmed, continue to attend hospital in rising numbers.

An independent report released this month in August by the Bureau of Health Information, Healthcare in Focus: People's use and experiences of mental health care in NSW, highlights intentional self-harm, youth mental health, and emergency department use by people with mental health issues.

The NSW government is investing a record $2.1 billion into mental health services and infrastructure for people living with mental illness, their families and carers.

Dr Nigel Lyons, NSW Health Deputy Secretary, says the report also shows most people receiving mental health services in the community and hospitals are young people, with emergency department presentations and admitted episodes for 15-24 year olds up 23 per cent over four years.

"NSW has around 700 mental health facilities, including more than 50 hospitals with mental health units and more than 500 community mental health teams. Each year they provide more than 40,000 episodes of hospital care and more than 3 million community contacts to more than 130,000 community clients," Dr Lyons said.

"It is no surprise to see high numbers of young people using mental health services, with the average age of onset for most mental health conditions in the early twenties.

"These numbers show our efforts to reduce stigma are making a difference, as increasing numbers of people seeking care may represent an increased willingness to seek treatment."

Dr Lyons says the report also highlights the large number of people in NSW accessing health services to help them with intentional self-harm.

"Every life lost to suicide is a tragedy. Suicide prevention is everybody's business and there is still much work to do," he said.

The NSW government has launched an investment of $87 million over three years to implement the Strategic Framework for Suicide Prevention 2018-2023. This will complement the NSW Premier's Priority of reducing the suicide rate by 20 per cent by 2023. The government is continuing to shift more care into the community through the NSW Mental Health Reform, which is allocated over $100 million in the 2019-20 budget.

Lifeline on 13 11 14

NSW Mental Health Line 1800 011 511

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