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Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

, Volume 41, Issue 10, pp 782–788 | Cite as

Self-harm in the UK

Differences between South Asians and Whites in rates, characteristics, provision of service and repetition
  • Jayne CooperEmail author
  • Nusrat Husain
  • Roger Webb
  • Waquas Waheed
  • Navneet Kapur
  • Else Guthrie
  • Louis Appleby
ORIGINAL PAPER

Abstract

Background

Rates of self-harm appear high in South Asian young women in the United Kingdom (UK) although previous studies were mostly small. Data on treatment and outcomes for South Asians are lacking. This study compared rates of self-harm, socio-demographic and clinical characteristics, provision of services and risk of repetition by ethnicity.

Method

A prospective cohort of adult self-harm attendees (n = 7185), aged 15 and over presenting to four emergency departments in the cities of Manchester and Salford, UK over a 4-year period.

Results

The study included 299 South Asians. South Asian women aged 16–24 years were more likely to self-harm than Whites of the same age group (1010.9 vs. 754 per 100,000). Across all age groups the rates of self-harm were lower in South Asian men compared to White men and to South Asian women. South Asian women were significantly more likely to report relationship problems within the family than White women (32% vs. 19%, P = <0.001). South Asians were less likely than Whites to report depressive symptoms and to be offered specialist mental health services (Rate ratio = 0.75), and more likely to be referred back to the GP (Rate ratio = 1.83). South Asians were less likely to attend with a repeat episode (Rate ratio = 0.56).

Conclusions

Young South Asian women are at high risk of self-harm, but their clinical risk appears to be lower in terms of the accepted contextual factors contributing to risk. Potentially useful service provision may include an interpersonal problem solving approach although to be effective, interventions would need to be acceptable to South Asian women and culturally appropriate.

Key words

deliberate self-harm ethnicity epidemiology health services research 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors thank the staff from the MASSH project, in particular Amy Johnston, for data collation and the clinicians at the participating hospitals for completing the assessment form. The project was funded by Manchester Health Authority, South Manchester University Hospitals NHS Trust, Manchester Healthcare NHS Trust, North Manchester Healthcare NHS Trust and the Mental Health Services of Salford NHS Trust.

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Copyright information

© Steinkopff Verlag Darmstadt 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jayne Cooper
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nusrat Husain
    • 2
  • Roger Webb
    • 3
  • Waquas Waheed
    • 4
  • Navneet Kapur
    • 1
  • Else Guthrie
    • 2
  • Louis Appleby
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Suicide Prevention, Division of Psychiatry, 7th Floor Williamson BuildingUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK
  2. 2.Manchester Royal InfirmaryManchesterUK
  3. 3.Centre for Women’s Mental Health Research, Division of PsychiatryUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK
  4. 4.The Lantem CentrePrestonUK

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