DELIBERATE self-poisoning or self-harm resulted in more than 200 children being admitted to Sussex hospitals last year, figures show.

Mental health charity YoungMinds said it was "deeply concerning" that hospital admissions for young people self-harming rose to record levels nationally amid the coronavirus pandemic.

NHS Digital data shows there were some 215 admissions for self-harm or self-poisoning for children aged nine to 17 at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust in 2020-21.

This was up from around 205 in 2019-20.

Of the admissions last year at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust, about 175 were for self-poisoning – excluding alcohol – and between 36 and 42 were for self-harm.

The Argus:

Admissions are rounded to the nearest five, and exact numbers are not available when there are fewer than eight cases a year, to protect patient identity.

Across England, at least 20,520 hospital admissions for self-harm or poisoning for youngsters aged nine to 17 were recorded last year.

YoungMinds said many young people find it hard to ask for help until they reach a crisis point, and that even before the Covid-19 crisis began they struggled to access support.

Olly Parker, head of external affairs at the charity, said: “It is deeply concerning to see that hospital admissions for self-harm have risen to their highest since records began.

“The reasons why young people self-harm are often complex, but we know that traumatic experiences at a young age – like bereavement, bullying or abuse – can have a huge impact.

“The Government must invest in a network of early support hubs across the country so that all young people who are starting to struggle with their mental health are able to get support."

The NSPCC said the pandemic had been "extremely challenging" for young people – either for those isolated in abusive homes, or those adjusting to a different way of learning.

A spokeswoman said: “While children are incredibly resilient the pandemic has understandably taken a toll on their emotional wellbeing, which is why the NSPCC want to see the Government invest in an ambitious plan for children that includes more mental health support in both the classroom and the community.

"This will ensure children can access the mental health support they need before things reach crisis point.”