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BACKGROUND: Studies of self-harm in Black and minority ethnic (BME) groups have been restricted to single geographical areas, with few studies of Black people. AIMS: To calculate age- and gender-specific rates of self-harm by ethnic group in three cities and compare characteristics and outcomes. METHOD: A population-based self-harm cohort presenting to five emergency departments in three English cities during 2001 to 2006. RESULTS: A total of 20 574 individuals (16-64 years) presented with self-harm; ethnicity data were available for 75%. Rates of self-harm were highest in young Black females (16-34 years) in all three cities. Risk of self-harm in young South Asian people varied between cities. Black and minority ethnic groups were less likely to receive a psychiatric assessment and to re-present with self-harm. CONCLUSIONS: Despite the increased risk of self-harm in young Black females fewer receive psychiatric care. Our findings have implications for assessment and appropriate management for some BME groups following self-harm.

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Psychiatry

Publication Date





212 - 218


Adolescent, Adult, African Continental Ancestry Group, Age Distribution, Asian Continental Ancestry Group, Attitude to Health, England, European Continental Ancestry Group, Female, Healthcare Disparities, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Minority Groups, Minority Health, Prospective Studies, Referral and Consultation, Self-Injurious Behavior, Sex Distribution, Socioeconomic Factors, Suicide, Young Adult