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The aim of this study was to estimate incidence of self-harm presentations to hospitals and their associated hospital costs across England.
We used individual patient data from the Multicentre Study of Self-harm in England of all self-harm presentations to the emergency departments of five general hospitals in Oxford, Manchester and Derby in 2013. We also obtained cost data for each self-harm presentation from the hospitals in Oxford and Derby, as well as population and geographical estimates from the Office for National Statistics. First, we estimated the rate of self-harm presentations by age and gender in the Multicentre Study and multiplied this with the respective populations to estimate the number of self-harm presentations by age and gender for each local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) area in England. Second, we performed a regression analysis on the cost data from Oxford and Derby to predict the hospital costs of self-harm in Manchester by age, gender, receipt of psychosocial assessment, hospital admission and type of self-harm. Third, the mean hospital cost per age year and gender were combined with the respective number of self-harm presentations to estimate the total hospital costs for each CCG in England. Sensitivity analysis was performed to address uncertainty in the results due to the extrapolation of self-harm incidence and cost from the Multicentre Study to England.
There were 228 075 estimated self-harm presentations (61% were female) by 159 857 patients in 2013 in England. The largest proportions of self-harm presentations were in the age group 40–49 years (30%) for men and 19–29 years (28%) for women. Associated hospital costs were approximately £128.6 (95% CI 117.8−140.9) million in 2013. The estimated incidence of self-harm and associated hospital costs were lower in the majority of English coastal areas compared to inland regions but the highest costs were in Greater London. Costs were also higher in more socio-economically deprived areas of the country compared with areas that are more affluent. The sensitivity analyses provided similar results.
The results of this study highlight the extent, hospital costs and distribution of self-harm presentations to hospitals in England and identify potential sub-populations that might benefit from targeted actions to help prevent self-harm and assist those who have self-harmed. They can support national as well as local health stakeholders in allocating funds and prioritising interventions in areas with the greatest need for preventing and managing self-harm.
In England suicide rates are highest in midlife (defined as age 40–59). Despite a strong link with suicide there has been little focus on self-harm in this age group.
To describe characteristics and treatment needs of people in midlife who present to hospital following self-harm.
Data from the Multicentre Study of Self-harm in England were used to examine rates over time and characteristics of men and women who self-harm in midlife. Data (2000–2013) were collected via specialist assessments or hospital records. Trends were assessed by negative binomial regression models. Comparative analysis used logistic regression models for binary outcomes. Repetition and suicide mortality were assessed by Cox proportional hazards models.
A quarter of self-harm presentations were made by people in midlife (n = 24 599, 26%). Incidence rates increased over time in men, especially after 2008 (incidence rate ratio [IRR] 1.07, 95% CI 1.02–1.12, P < 0.01), and were positively correlated with national suicide incidence rates (r = 0.52, P = 0.05). Rates in women remained relatively stable (IRR 1.00, 95% CI 1.00–1.02, P = 0.39) and were not correlated with suicide. Alcohol use, unemployment, housing and financial factors were more common in men; whereas indicators of poor mental health were more common in women. In men and women 12-month repetition was 25%, and during follow-up 2.8% of men and 1.2% of women died by suicide.
Self-harm in midlife represents a key target for intervention. Addressing underlying issues, alcohol use and economic factors may help prevent further self-harm and suicide.
Declaration of interest
K.H. and N.K. are members of the Department of Health's National Suicide Prevention Advisory Group. N.K. chaired the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guideline development group for the longer-term management of self-harm and the NICE Topic Expert Group which developed the quality standards for self-harm services. N.K. also chairs the NICE guideline committee for the management of depression. All other authors declare no conflict of interest.
High body mass index (BMI) has been associated with lower risks of suicidal behaviour and being underweight with increased risks. However, evidence is inconsistent and sparse, particularly for women. We aim to study this relationship in a large cohort of UK women.
In total 1.2 million women, mean age 56 (s.d. 5) years, without prior suicide attempts or other major illness, recruited in 1996–2001 were followed by record linkage to national hospital admission and death databases. Cox regression yielded relative risks (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for attempted suicide and suicide by BMI, adjusted for baseline lifestyle factors and self-reported treatment for depression or anxiety.
After 16 (s.d. 3) years of follow-up, 4930 women attempted suicide and 642 died by suicide. The small proportion (4%) with BMI <20 kg/m2 were at clearly greater risk of attempted suicide (RR = 1.38, 95% CI 1.23–1.56) and suicide (RR = 2.10, 1.59–2.78) than women of BMI 20–24.9 kg/m2; p < 0.0001 for both comparisons. Small body size at 10 and 20 years old was also associated with increased risks. Half the cohort had BMIs >25 kg/m2 and, while risks were somewhat lower than for BMI 20–24.9 kg/m2 (attempted suicide RR = 0.91, 0.86–0.96; p = 0.001; suicide RR = 0.79, 0.67–0.93; p = 0.006), the reductions in risk were not strongly related to level of BMI.
Being underweight is associated with a definite increase in the risk of suicidal behaviour, particularly death by suicide. Residual confounding cannot be excluded for the small and inconsistent decreased risk of suicidal behaviour associated with being overweight or obese.
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