Self-harm in over-65s ‘needs post-pandemic focus’

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Self-harm among the over-65s must receive greater focus because of the increased risks associated with the pandemic, a leading expert has said.

Loneliness, bereavement and reluctance to access GPs can all be causes in older adults, said Prof Nav Kapur, who has produced guidelines on the subject.

He warned that in over-65s, without the right help, self-harm can also be a predictor of later suicide attempts.

The NHS’s mental health director said it had expanded its community support.

Claire Murdoch added that its services, including face-to-face appointments, had “continued for all who needed them”, and 24/7 crisis lines had been established.

Over-65s are hospitalised more than 5,000 times a year in England because of self-harm and self-poisoning, figures obtained from NHS Digital show.

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