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Deliberate Self Harm
During the investigated period of 1997-2003, a total of 15,762 Deliberate Self-Harm (DSH) inpatient accident and emergency admissions were recorded in the HKSAR, in which females comprised about two thirds of the total. Moreover, a historic high of 41.6 DSH per 100,000 was recorded in 2003.
A significant increase in DSH inpatients was observed in both genders since 2000, but a striking increase in males was also noted.
The age groups of 15-24 and 25-39 saw the most DSH patients, accounting for around two thirds of the total.
About 91 percent of patients were admitted for their first DSH attempt.
Overall the sex ratio of females to males decreased over the study period and stood at about 1 in 2003 and the greatest discrepancy in gender ratio was reported amongst patients aged less than 15.
Poisoning was the most frequent method used amongst all DSH patient age groups, accounting for more than half of the total, and was attributed to more than 80% of the total in 2003.
A cyclical fluctuation was detected amongst DSH patients with a higher numbers of incidences recorded in summer and fewer in winter. Also, there were uneven weekly distributions with DSH incidence peaks occurring on Mondays for both genders.
The daily period of 22:00-2:00 was the most common accident and admission time for DSH patients.
There were more cases in the districts of Kwun Tong, Kwai Tsing and Tuen Mun while Central, Western, Wai Chai and Island areas had relatively lower incidences of DSH. Compared to 1997, the admission rates for DSH cases to hospitals in 2003 showed a significant increase in areas that included New Territories, Northern Districts (e.g Sheung Shui and Fanling), Tai Po, and Shatin.
About 95 percent of DSH patients stayed in hospital for medical treatment less than 2 weeks with the average length of stay 3.2 days; median and mode were observed to be 2 and 1, respectively.
Based on medical service data from the Hospital Authority in 2001, the total costs incurred by DSH patients to the Hospital Authority reached about HK$48 million in 2003.

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