ONE person every day is being treated at the South West Acute Hospital’s emergency department for self-harm attempts or suicidal thoughts, it has been revealed.
Disturbingly, there were 26 young people under the age of 16 treated for self harm and suicidal thoughts at the Enniskillen hospital throughout the last year.
A Fermanagh councillor has said that current trends show there has been a 20 per cent rise in the number of young people aged between 10 and 19-years-old admitted for hospital treatment for self harming behaviour.
The influx of admissions show that throughout the last year 365 – at least one every day – has been admitted to SWAH for treatment.
In October 2012, six people took their lives in Fermanagh over the space of ten days.
Those who died included a 15-year-old schoolboy and a 69-year-old farmer.
The most updated figures show that throughout 2013, 15 people in Fermanagh died by suicide, but the true number is believed to be higher. The number of people to die by suicide last year is not yet known, however the number of people to die by suicide in 2013 is the highest in the last 15 years.
UUP councillor Raymond Farrell, who is a mental health practitioner, told the Fermanagh Herald: “It is most alarming and should be a matter of concern to our government that 26 admissions of young people were admitted to the South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen in the 2014 and 2015 period for self harm and suicidal thoughts.
“Overall there were 365 individuals admitted to the South West Acute Hospital, one for every day of the year for self harm attempts and this is a concern.
“Current trends would indicate there is a 20 per cent rise in the number of young people aged between 10 and 19 years admitted in the UK for self harming behaviours.
“That does concern me. The most obvious triggers I believe can range from bullying, cyber bullying, depression and pressure from others. We must grasp this matter now before this gets out of hand and this is why I believe we need to see investment in our young people in terms of early intervention and education on other healthier ways to express one’s emotions.
“I am bitterly disappointed to see funding cuts of £35 thousand being made to the early years fund in Fermanagh by the Education Minister where vital work is being done in terms of mental health resilience strategies being taught.
“We need to get this right now or pay the price in years to come.”
The news comes as the Western Trust submitted a business case to the Health Board regarding a second mental health unit to be built in the trust. It is understood that Enniskillen and Omagh are just two of the locations being considered by the trust within their business case.
A spokesman for the Department of Health told the Fermanagh Herald: “An outline business case for the development of a centre for mental health in the Western Health and Social Care Trust has recently been received by the HSCB (Health and Social Care Board) and is being reviewed.”
It is not yet known how when the decision of this review is to made public.
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