The paradox of public holidays: Hospital-treated self-harm and associated factors

Thumbnail Image
Griffin_et_al_revised.pdf(354.99 KB)
Accepted Version
Griffin, Eve
Dillon, Christina B.
O'Regan, Grace
Corcoran, Paul
Perry, Ivan J.
Arensman, Ella
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Elsevier B.V.
Research Projects
Organizational Units
Journal Issue
Recent research on the patterns of self-harm around public holidays is lacking. This study used national data to examine the patterns of hospital-treated self-harm during public holidays, and to examine associated factors. Data on self-harm presentations to all emergency departments were obtained from the National Self-Harm Registry Ireland. The association between self-harm presentations and public holidays was examined using univariate and multivariate Poisson regression analyses. A total of 104,371 presentations of self-harm were recorded between 2007 and 2015. The mean number of self-harm presentations was 32 on public holidays. St. Patrick's Day had the highest number of presentations compared to all other public holidays, with a daily mean of 44 presentations. Across all years, self-harm presentations during public holidays had a 24% increased risk of involving alcohol consumption compared to all other days and this effect was most pronounced during the Christmas period. The association with alcohol remained significant at a multivariate level. Presentations on public holidays were more likely to attend out of normal working hours. An increase in male presentations involving self-cutting was observed on public holidays and there was an over-representation of males presenting for the first time. It is likely that extent of alcohol involvement in self-harm presentations reported here is an underestimate, as it was dependent on the information being recorded by the attending clinician. Public holidays are associated with an elevated number of self-harm presentations to hospital, with presentations to hospital involving alcohol significantly increased on these days. Hospital resources should be targeted to address increases during public holidays, including during out-of-hours. Involvement of alcohol may delay delivery of care to these patients in emergency settings.
Self-harm , Public holidays , Alcohol consumption , Mental health
Griffin, E., Dillon, C. B., O'Regan, G., Corcoran, P., Perry, I. J. and Arensman, E. (2017) 'The paradox of public holidays: Hospital-treated self-harm and associated factors', Journal of Affective Disorders, 218, pp. 30-34. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2017.04.058