HOSPITAL admissions for self-harming in Halton have been higher than the national and regional average for the past five years.

A report from Public Health reveals rates of self-harming for children and young people aged between 10 and 24 have been “consistently high” in the borough since 2011.

While the rate of admissions in 2016/17 appears to have dropped compared to 2015/2016, the report concluded that the overall trend showed a slight increase, adding that the gap between the rate in Halton and the north west and England is not closing.

The age group with the highest rates of hospital admissions for self-harming is 16 to 24-year-old girls with the highest number of admissions are in the 15-19 age group.

The second highest demographic for self-harm rates were women aged 20 to 24, which the report found were “significantly higher” than regional and national rates, and showed more and more young women struggling with the transition from teenage years to adulthood.

At a council Health and Wellbeing meeting on Wednesday, director of public health Eileen O’Meara said reasons why older girls were more likely to self-harm  included issues to do with social media, bullying and the pressure to look a certain way.

She said public health would be going into colleges and finding ways they could carry out prevention work for older people vulnerable to self-harming.

This follows a number of successful initiatives that have reduced the rates of self-harming in younger children in Halton.

In Halton, all primary schools are signed up to the Integrated Wellness Service, which plays a part in delivering improved health and wellbeing for all ages across the borough through a range of statutory services.

Through this service some schools, such as Halton Lodge Primary School, are said to be leading the way nationally in focusing on children’s wellbeing by providing services such as yoga, fitness and mindfulness classes.

Signs that someone is at risk of, or is self-harming:

Halton’s Health Improvement team advise that these are some signs someone may be self-harming:

-Alcohol or drug misuse

-Low self esteem, low mood, tearfulness

-Breakdown in relationships

-Limited support

-Confusion about sexuality

-Unexplained cuts/bruises/burns

-Keeping things covered with long sleeves or pants

-Self-loathing, wanting to punish themselves

-Known mental health problems / occasional thoughts of suicide

-Lack of motivation

-Access to lethal methods

-Feels they may act impulsively

If you are having suicidal thoughts or mental health issues then contact the Samaritans helpline for free on 116 123. It is free to call, even from a mobile, and will not appear on your phone bill.

If you’re under the age of 18 you can also call Childline on 0800 1111. No problem is too big or too small.