HOSPITAL admissions for self-harm in Southampton hit a record high last year, figures have revealed.

Public Health England data shows there were 1,035 emergency hospital admissions for self-harm in Southampton in 2018-19 – the most since ​comparable records began in 2010-11.

The Southampton statistics were also well above the rate of England with 73 cases for every 100,000 people in the city compared to 193 across England.

Nationally, hospital admissions for self-harm have risen for the last two years, reaching 109,000 in 2018-19, although this was below the peak of 114,000 in 2013-14.

The mental health charity Mind says A&E can be a frightening place for someone in a mental health crisis, and that people must get the support they need before reaching that point.

Mind's head of policy and campaigns Vicki Nash said the increase was "worrying", but that it was hard to say exactly what was causing it.

She added: "We also need to take into account the wider social issues such as poor housing, employment issues and financial strain, which can all have a huge impact on our mental health.

“The NHS in England has promised £2.3 billion a year for mental health, but we must see this reach the front line if we are going to see people’s experiences on the ground improve.”

The likelihood of women across England being admitted to hospital for self-harm continues to be much higher than for men, the figures show.

Southampton was no exception last year, when the admission rate for women was 478 per 100,000, compared to 277 in 100,000 for men​one of the widest disparities in England.

The gap reached its widest on record nationally in 2018-19 – the female admission rate was 247 in 100,000, compared to a male rate of 142 per 100,000.

Ms Nash said that experiences such as domestic violence and abuse can increase the likelihood of women experiencing a mental health problem.

You are also much more likely to end up in hospital for self-harm if you live in a deprived neighbourhood.

The admission rate was 241 in 100,000 for the most deprived 10 per cent of areas in England, compared to 174 per 100,000 for the 10 per cent least deprived.

Dr Adam Cox, Psychiatrist and Clinical Director for Southampton from Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust said: “Reducing self-harm is a priority for the local NHS and it’s vital that people get the support they need at the right place and time.

"As well as mental health experts based at the General Hospital, we have also embedded mental health professionals working 24/7 in the NHS 111 call centre who can offer specialist advice and support over the phone.

"Together with Solent Mind and local commissioners, we are also about to open the Lighthouse - a safe haven in the city for people going through a mental health crisis.

"The Lighthouse is staffed by nurses alongside people who themselves have experience of mental illness.

“As part of an ongoing campaign to prevent suicide and self-harm, we have produced thousands of ‘Lifecards’ signposting people to potentially life-saving support and resources. The cards are now carried by NHS, police, and other emergency services and are available at health centres across Southampton.”

Samaritans’ helpline is available round the clock and can be contacted by phone, email, letter, and face to face. Contact 116 123.