North East's self-harm rate could be linked to alcohol

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Alcohol abuse is contributing to high levels of hospital admissions for self-harm in the north-east of England, a health expert believes.

Health and Social Care Information Centre statistics showed drug poisoning was the most common self-harm method.

Nick Holdsworth from Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust said above average alcohol consumption made patients "less resilient" to overdoses.

The region's rate was almost three times that of London in 2011/12.

There were 330 cases of self harm in the North East per 100,000 people during the same period.

Professional advice

Mr Holdsworth said the region also had about three times the national average of alcohol-related hospital admissions and this meant patients were more likely to need specialist treatment after overdosing on painkillers.

"A study in Northumberland, which is fairly representative of the region down to Teesside, found around 30% of admissions to general hospital were related to alcohol," Mr Holdsworth said.

In comparison, previous research in the south-east of England found 10% of self-harm admissions were linked to drinking, he added.

Mr Holdsworth said more professional advice should be made available.

"What we need is for mental health services to go into hospitals more regularly to support these people," he said.

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