Women in Cumbria are nearly twice as likely as men to be admitted urgently to hospital for self-harm injuries, figures reveal.
The Mental Health Foundation say the figures reflect higher rates of anxiety, depression and reported self-harm among women and girls, but that all genders should remain a priority for mental health support.
Public Health England data shows that there were 940 admissions to hospital via A&E for self-harm injuries among residents of Cumbria in 2019-20.
It meant a rate of 279 admissions following self-harm per 100,000 women, and 142 per 100,000 men.
Across England, there were 247 per 100,000 among women, and 140 for men in 2019-20 – meaning nearly two-thirds of the 108,000 patients admitted were female.
Catherine Seymour, head of research at the Mental Health Foundation, said women and girls were more likely to experience mental distress such as anxiety and depression, which can trigger self-harm.
She said: “It is also possible that women and girls are more likely to recognise and report mental distress and self-harm than men and boys.”
She said while more men than women die by suicide, she added all genders must be a priority for mental health support.
Stephen Buckley, head of information at Mind, said: “It’s concerning to see such high levels of women and girls admitted to hospital with self-harm injuries.
“This doesn’t necessarily mean that females are more likely than males to self-harm, but may indicate greater willingness to ask for support and treatment, whether that’s medical help or by reaching out to friends and family.
“It’s important to remember that people of all ages, genders and backgrounds self-harm. There is no one typical person who hurts themselves and there are lots of reasons why someone might intentionally injure themselves.”
He added that a survey of 16,000 people carried out by Mind suggested the mental health of the nation had worsened since the start of the pandemic, with two-thirds of respondents reporting poorer mental health during the initial lockdown.
Nadine Dorries, Minister for Mental Health, said early intervention was vital.
“Mental health services have remained open over the last year and we are constantly improving support and access to services – investing £57 million a year in suicide prevention as part of our commitment to invest £2.3 billion per year to mental health services by 2023-24,” she said.
“We have also launched a call for evidence for the first government-led Women’s Health Strategy, to address health inequalities across the whole health and care system.
“I want all women to come forward and share their experiences, so we can create a system that works for everyone.”