Self Harm

We have received the following press release reporting a survey undertaken by a consortium consisting of ChildLine, selfharm.co.uk, YouthNet and YoungMinds to coincide with National Self-Harm Awareness Day (1 March).

The online, self-selecting survey asked young people about their experiences of self-harm during January 2012. At total of 1,392 respondents completed the survey, giving their ages from 9 years old to 18 years old. The sample (which is obviously not representative of the full population) found that, among those surveyed, more than half admitted to hurting themselves on a daily basis or a few times a week.

The findings

The survey revealed that 41 per cent of young people who had hurt themselves had not told anybody about it, and those who did were most likely to tell friends first. However, the large majority felt that this hadn’t helped and still went on to hurt themselves as a way of ‘coping’.

The survey also showed that:

– 86 per cent of respondents had injured themselves;

– respondents cited feeling depressed as the main reason for hurting themselves;

– feeling lonely and family problems also accounted for a high proportion of self-injury cases;

– cutting was the most common way of self-harming, with 81 percent of young people adopting this method;

– scratching was also high at 71 per cent;

– boys are significantly less likely to tell anyone about their self-harming behaviour than girls.

The response

Speaking on behalf of the four charities, Sue Minto from ChildLine said, “We’ve seen from rising hospital admissions and requests for all services that self-harm is a critical issue for young people. ChildLine alone has seen a 59 per cent increase in the number of self-harm related counselling interactions in 2010/2011 compared to the previous year. The overall number of ChildLine counselling interactions (across all issues) increased by 42 per cent, so the proportion of self-harm related activity is rising at a significantly higher rate.

“Speaking up about self-harm is not easy, and this is particularly the case for young men. Our charities are coming together to raise awareness of the range of support available for children, teenagers, parents and those working with young people. Whether someone is experiencing self-harm themselves, or becomes a trusted confident for someone who is, we want to ensure they are able to easily access appropriate support.”

The four charities

The four charities which commissioned the survey are campaigning for greater awareness and support for children at risk of harming themselves.

ChildLine on 0800 1111 and www.childline.org.uk is the UK’s only free and confidential 24-hour helpline for children in danger or distress. Trained volunteer counsellors comfort, advise and protect children and young people aged 18 and under.

Selfharm.co.uk is a safe, pro-recovery website that supports young people who self-harm. It also offers training for parents, carers and professionals equipping them to handle disclosure and provide effective support.

TheSite.org is an online guide to life for 16 to 25 year-olds, run by leading online charity YouthNet. TheSite.org provides trusted, non-judgemental support and advice on anything from self-harm to homework.

YoungMinds is the UK’s leading charity committed to improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people. YoungMinds provides a Parents’ Helpline for any adult concerned about the mental health or wellbeing of a child or young person. 0808 802 5544 or www.youngminds.org.uk

The charities are calling on anyone who knows a young person who is, or is at risk of, injuring themselves to get in touch with the relevant charity, who can provide the advice and support they need.

A video supporting this campaign and further information can be found at http://www.childline.org.uk/selfharm

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