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Self-harm. How common is self-harm? Part three.

Updated on August 4, 2016

Too common!

According to the Mental Health Foundation, the UK has the highest rates of self-harm in Europe, 400 per 100,000. Although there is little research or evidence of the prevalence of self-harm among young people, it is more common people realise. It is impossible to say exactly how many young people self-harm because, many young people hurt themselves secretly before finding the courage to tell someone: Many of them never ask for counselling or medical help:

Self-harm is more common in children over the age of 11 and increases in frequency with age. It is not as common in younger people although there is evidence of children as young as 8 trying to harm themselves.

For information on, treatment and management of self-harm and other issues surrounding self-harm go to, Self-harm help

Hospital records in the Uk show that as many as 170,000 young people present at accident and emergency department each year as a result of self-harm but this is only part of the picture. The majority of young people who self-harm will either not harm themselves in a way that needs medical treatment or they will deal with their injuries themselves. Even so, more than 24,000 teenagers are admitted to hospital in the UK every year as a result of deliberately harming themselves.

It has been found that self-harming is more common amongst girls and young women than boys and young men, Studies indicate that there are approximately three times as many females as males that self-harm. Self-harm among young people is a public health challenge. There needs to be more awareness and more understanding of self-harm and its underlying causes, both among young people themselves, and those who come into contact with them including the professionals who often want to apply labels to explain self-harm. Also, self-harm is still a taboo subject and there is still a significant lack of understand about self-harm and the issues surrounding it among the public and professionals a like.

Young people harm themselves as a way of coping with the unbearable stress of life. They feel that they have no other way of coping. They continue to self-harm because they feel that they are misunderstood not truly listened to. They cannot see another way out of the emotional turmoil they are in. They are not doing it to get attention or to end their lives, they are doing it to cope and survive.

As an ex self-harmer, I feel it worrying that self-harming among the young in increasing at an alarming rate. I can understand the fear of coming forward and admitting to hurting yourself. I was afraid I would be judge and labelled not normal. I am normal but at the time of being a teenager, and in my case a long time later, my emotional pain was so intense that only hurting myself would end the intensity. Cutting myself relieved my emotional pain and prevented me doing further harm to myself. I hurt myself in other ways including hurting myself with my own fist, using drugs and alcohol to blot out the pain. I just did not have the tools, the know how, the skill to deal with the issues I faced.

I feel that more should be done in educating our young people, in every country, about the facts of self-harm. Self-harming needs to be less of a taboo subject and understood as it is, ways of coping. If young people are educated to understand about feelings and how to deal with them, there would be less self-harmer's out there secretly hurting themselves.

I do not self-harm now. I learnt all I could, read the books, searched the internet and did modules. I got myself a clear understanding of why I self-harmed and learnt about better ways of dealing with life and the problems it can bring.

I read about the law of attraction and how I was responsible for the stressful situations I got myself into. I know now that I can create my own life, one that feels good. I take care of my body and it serves me well. I found other ways of dealing with my distress, not that I have much distress or stress these days. I have discovered how to love myself and only want the best for myself. I moved away from situations and places that did not make me feel good to places where every fibre in my body feels good and I am happy. When a difficult situation comes up for me in my life, I know that I have the inner resources to deal with it. I do not let things get a hold emotionally like I used to, I have learnt that nothing is worth worrying or fretting over.

Part one. Self-harm

Part two. What is self-harm

Women and Depression through the ages. Part one.

Truth Hurts


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    • That Grrl profile image

      Laura Brown 5 years ago from Barrie, Ontario, Canada

      The increase in young people could be from the media attention. For a time it seemed to be in one teen oriented TV show after another.

    • mohr profile image

      mohr 6 years ago

      Interesting information and a very relevant topic. It seem more and more youngsters are succumbing to this. It is good if everyone can make a concious effort to look out for signs and reach out. A little bit of caring and communication may sometimes make a difference... Thanks for the great hub!