Self-harm amongst younger people is rising at an alarming rate, says the mental health charity YoungMinds, and by 2020, 100,000 children and young people could be hospitalised every year because of self-inflicted injuries.
Figures, obtained in a parliamentary question by Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson, reveal that, over the past ten years in England, inpatient admissions due to self-harm have increased by 68 per cent for young people. For females under 25, this rise has been even more profound, with a 77 per cent increase in admissions due to self-harm over the last decade.
“These shocking statistics should act as a wake-up call to everyone who cares about the welfare of young people”, says Lucie Russell of YoungMinds. “More and more children and young people are using self-harm as a mechanism to cope with the pressures of life and this just isn’t acceptable.”
While self-harm is often dismissed as attention seeking behaviour, Ms Russell argues it is a sign that young people are “feeling terrible internal pain and are not coping”. The charity has called on the Government to ensure that its new mental health strategy, which promotes supporting children and young people when problems first arise, is effectively implemented at a local level.