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News

Self-harm rises among young people from ethnic minorities, says study

In terms of outcomes, the risk of repetition was lower among ethnic minority groups when compared to white groups. (iStock Image)

By: Eastern Eye Staff

SELF-HARM may be increasing more quickly among young people from ethnic minorities, a study has suggested.

According to data on hospital emergency department presentations, there was a higher average annual increase among south Asian and black young people and those from other non-white ethnic groups compared to white young people.

Despite the increase, researchers from the University of Manchester said the rates of self-harm remained highest in young people who were white.

However, those from an ethnic minority background were more likely to live in economically deprived areas and less likely to be receiving mental health care than their white counterparts.

In terms of outcomes, the risk of repetition was lower among ethnic minority groups when compared to white groups. There was little difference in suicide mortality, but the overall number of suicide deaths was small.

Lead author Bushra Farooq, a researcher from the university’s Centre for Mental Health and Safety, said self-harm in all children and adolescents had become a major public health concern in recent years.

“While the majority of presentations continue to be made by white children and adolescents, ethnic minority groups seem to account for an increasing proportion in recent years,” Farooq said. “It’s difficult to know what has driven this among ethnic minority groups specifically. Possible reasons include factors related to psychological health.

“Unfortunately, our study could only look at very broad ethnic groups. Within these broad groups there are some important differences. Future studies must acknowledge and explore these differences.”

Professor Nav Kapur, the paper’s senior author, added: “We need to understand the reasons for these findings and make sure we do better in the future-whether that is through provision of culturally adapted mental health services or better staff training. We also need to stop thinking about people from ethnic minorities as part of a single group with uniform needs.”

Eastern Eye

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