Trends in Self-Harm in Kuala Lumpur, 2005-2011

C J Armitage, Wirda Abdul Rahim, Richard Rowe, Rory C O'Connor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Acts of self-harm are not routinely tracked in Malaysia. The present study investigates the prevalence of self-harm in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, over a 7-year period. The aims were to: (a) assess the prevalence of self-harm; (b) examine any changes over a period of 7 years, and (c) identify correlates of methods of self-harm. Data were extracted from the hospital records of Kuala Lumpur Hospital to review trends in self-harm between 2005 and 2011. There were 918 episodes of self-harm across the 7-year period, with a significant peak in 2007-2009. The average rate of self-harm (7.7 per 100,000 population per year) was similar or lower than the rate of suicide (6-8 or 8-13 per 100,000) suggesting that genuine cases of self-harm are often attributed to other causes. Nevertheless, over-representation of young people, women and Indians suggest areas in which resources to prevent self-harm might usefully be targeted. Estimating rates of self-harm are fraught with problems and further research is needed to understand the economic and cultural barriers around seeking treatment for self-harm, reporting self-harm and classifying self-harm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-28
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Suicide Research
Issue number1
Early online date9 Dec 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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