Disclosures of self-harm among teenagers have risen 30 per cent
in the past year, figures from ChildLine reveal.
The children’s charity counselled more than 4,000 young
people through its helpline in 2003-4. Of these, 91 per cent were
girls and 9 per cent boys.
The data, published as part of the first interim report of the
national inquiry into self-harm, reveals an average rise of 23 per
cent a year in the number of children speaking to ChildLine
counsellors about the issue over the past 10 years.
The inquiry, run by the Mental Health Foundation and The Camelot
Foundation, has found that most young people who self-harm never
reach the attention of services or professionals and that medical
advice is not sought unless treatment is required. Of those young
people who do seek help, many report negative experiences.
The inquiry’s interim report finds that self-harm is often
used as a coping mechanism, with many of the young people who
self-harm lacking confidence and self-esteem.
Evidence submitted to the inquiry from ChildLine says children
who self-harm are struggling to cope with multiple problems in
their lives, including abuse, bullying, exam stress and family
ChildLine chief executive Carole Easton said: “We believe the
findings should provide the foundation for the provision of
services, therapy or treatment that will mean young people who
self-harm get the support and help they need.
“The experiences of ChildLine callers highlight the need for
directly accessible, widely available and well resourced child and
adolescent mental health services.”
The inquiry is due to finish by autumn 2005.
– Report from www.selfharmuk.org