Objectives: Deliberate self-harm (DSH) is the strongest predictor of suicidal behaviour. This retrospective study reviewed all DSH presentations to our Paediatric Emergency Department between 2002-2006.
Method: Using database and medical records we profiled these presentations. Data was coded and statistically analysed.
Results: There were 253 DSH attendances. Twenty-four percent were living in care, 15% were under 12 years and 14% presented more than once. Overdoses (61%) were more common than cutting (16%) and 56% had a psychiatric condition.
Conclusions: DSH presents an ongoing challenge to child and adolescent mental health services and those working in suicide prevention. Identifying the characteristics of these young people is essential to providing appropriate treatment for this high-risk group.