RATES of self-harm in young people has risen “alarmingly” – with one in five teenage girls at risk, new research suggests.
A study published in The Lancet Psychiatry found that in 2014 six per cent of people had intentionally harmed themselves at some point in their life.
1 Self-harm rates have risen especially among teenagers and young women, figures show (stock image)Credit: Getty – Contributor
That’s up from two per cent in 2000 – with the highest rate among girls and women aged 16 to 24.
Emma Thomas, chief executive of charity YoungMinds, described the figures as “alarming”.
The study provides the first evidence of long-term trends in non-suicidal self-harm in England, the researchers said.
But self-harm can be an early warning sign that somebody may go on to attempt suicide, which is why it’s important to talk about it.
The Sun launched the You’re Not Alone campaign to raise awareness of mental health issues and encourage people to seek help.
‘Services need to be improved’
Lead author Sally McManus, from the National Centre for Social Research, said: “Non-suicidal self-harm is increasingly being reported as a way of coping.
“We need to help people, especially young people, learn more appropriate and effective ways of dealing with emotional stress.
“The availability of services needs to be improved, especially for young people, so that health, education and social care professionals can discuss the subject with them and support better emotional health.”
Previous studies have used data from health services to measure self-harm, but many people who self-harm do not seek or receive help, the researchers said.
They analysed responses from people aged 16 to 74 in England in 2000, 2007 and 2014, mainly using information from face-to-face interviews.
Their sample included 7,243 people in 2000, 6,444 in 2007 and 6,477 in 2014.
The rise in rates of self-harm – particularly among girls and young women – is alarmingEmma Thomaschief executive of charity YoungMinds
Across the period, the rate of lifetime non-suicidal self-harm rose from 2.4 per cent to 3.8 per cent to 6.4 per cent across the population.
In 2000 and 2007, prevalence was similar between the sexes, but by 2014 it had become higher in women and girls than men and boys.
Among 16 to 24-year-old girls and women in 2014, 19.7 per cent reported having self-harmed at some point in their life.
This compared with 6.5 per cent in 2000 and 11.7 per cent in 2007.
YOU’RE NOT ALONEEVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.
It doesn’t discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.
It’s the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.
And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.
Yet it’s rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
That is why The Sun launched the You’re Not Alone campaign.
The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.
Let’s all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You’re Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
The increase was mainly because of rises in self-cutting and use of self-harm to relieve unpleasant feelings, the authors said.
Despite rising rates of self-harm, the researchers said they did not find evidence of an increase in people seeking treatment.
The proportion of people who said they had no contact with medical or psychological services after self-harming was 51.2 per cent in 2000, 51.8 per cent in 2007 and 59.4 per cent in 2014.
Ms Thomas said: “The rise in rates of self-harm – particularly among girls and young women – is alarming.
“At the moment, it’s far too difficult for children and young people to get mental health support before they reach crisis point.
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“The Government has promised extra investment, which must make a real difference to frontline services – but we also need to see action so young people can get early support in their communities.”
Jacqui Morrissey, assistant director of research and influencing at Samaritans, said: “Self-harm is a sign of serious emotional distress and while the majority of people who self-harm will not go on to take their own life, it is a strong predictor for future suicide risk.
“It’s therefore vital that there is a broad public health approach, rooted in education across frontline professionals and the wider community, improved mental health services and effective support on and offline.”
Why it’s up to all of us to reduce deaths by suicide
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