Self-Harm Surge Puts 100 Children A Week In Casualty
Nearly 100 schoolchildren are being hospitalised every week as a result of self-harm due to mental health problems, official figures have revealed.
The statistics show that self-harming incidents among the under-15s have risen by almost a third in the last six years.
Children’s charities blame the increase in cases of cutting, suicide attempts and eating disorders, on factors such as bullying, family breakdown and pressure to eat less to emulate stick-thin celebrities.
Analysis of Accident and Emergency admissions in Britain showed that soaring numbers of children under the age of 15 are attempting suicide.
The most recent figures available revealed that more than 4,500 boys and girls aged 14 or under were treated in hospitals around the UK for self-harm last year – a rise of 1,431 in the last six years.
Doctors found that the most common method of attempting suicide was a drugs overdose.
Nine in ten of the 4,575 youngsters admitted to hospital for self-harming between 2005-6 had taken drugs for “intentional self-poisoning”.
The number of children deliberately cutting themselves has also quadrupled since 2000.
In 2006, 294 children were admitted to hospital after using a sharp object to hurt themselves, compared with just 64 in 2000.
Despite living in an age of unprecedented prosperity and life expectancy, research has suggested that more than a million youngsters now have a mental health disorder such as depression.
Angie Brown, of the charity ChildLine, said: “These figures are very worrying and one of the reasons for this is that there is an awful lot of pressure on youngsters to conform in the way they look.
“A lot of children-will feel they don’t fit in and that kind of pressure goes along with eating disorders which is also a form of self-harm.
“We get children as young as 11 feeling upset with the way they look and being bullied.”
According to the report from the Department of Health’s “epidemic” of depression among youngsters.
Hospital Episodes Statistics, 37 youngsters tried to hang, strangle or suffocate themselves last year.
The report is the latest in a series of alarming studies which have highlighted a rise in depression among children.
Experts in the field are calling on the Government to act urgently to provide adequate mental health resources to tackle what is being called an
The chief executive of mental health charity SANE, Marjorie Wallace, said: “They are very shocking figures. Our helpline has seen an alarming increase in the numbers of young people who are harming themselves, some even younger than the age of 13.
“We believe it is an epidemic of self-harm, particularly among young teenagers.
“The methods of self-harm are also getting more extreme. But there is a failure of mental health services in identifying and following up young people who regularly turn up at Accident-and Emergency having harmed themselves.”
ChildLine last month revealed that children as young as five are calling them feeling suidical.
Many youngsters are phoning for help when they feel there is “no way out” of situations ranging from bullying and eating disorders to family troubles and exam stress.
More than 1,000 calls – one in six – were made by girls “at crisis point” and contemplating suicide between April 2005 and March last year.
Some even tried to take their own lives while on the phone to the 24-hour service.