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Manchester "worst for self-harm"

Manchester has the highest rate of self-harm in Europe, a new study has revealed.

The study, which compared hospital admissions for self-harm from eight European countries, also found that females are consistently at greater risk of harming themselves than males.

Researchers from the Network for International Collaboration on Evidence in Suicide Prevention collected data on over 44,000 cases of self-harm across Europe dating from 1989 to 2003.

In the regions studied, researchers found the highest rate was in Manchester where, on average, 540 out of every 100,000 women self-harmed each year. Next came Oxford with 416 per 100,000. This compares to 72 per 100,000 women in Ljubljana, Slovenia, which had the lowest rate. The corresponding figures for males were 422 per 100,000 in Manchester, 309 per 100,000 in Oxford and 64 per 100,000 in Ljubljana. In most countries, men were also at greater risk of self-harming repeatedly.

The findings back up previous research that suggests the UK has very high rates of self-harm compared to other European countries.

Professor Stephen Platt, Director of the Research Unit in Health, Behaviour and Change at the University of Edinburgh, said: "This latest research confirms we have a serious problem of self-harm in the UK, particularly among women. Although we have made excellent progress in improving support services, we still have a long way to go."

The findings will be presented at the 12th European Symposium onSuicide and Suicidal Behaviour, organised jointly by the Universitiesof Edinburgh and Stirling.

University of Stirling