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Quarter of 14-year-old girls have self-harmed, report finds

Wednesday 29th August 2018
A new survey has revealed a rising number of 14-year-olds self-harming due to mental health issues.
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A new report into the mental health of teenagers has found 22 per cent of girls in the UK aged 14 have self-harmed. 

The survey by the Children's Society also found nine per cent of the boys surveyed had also self-harmed during the year leading up to the questionnaire. 

Injury levels were highest among those who reported feeling physical attraction to the same or both sexes, at 46 per cent. 

The report stated that this unhappiness was partly caused by the pressure and strain created by worries about looks and gender stereotyping. 

Based on the society's analysis of the figures, which were collated in 2015 in the Millennium Cohort Study, it is estimated that around 109,000 children aged 14 harmed themselves last year, including 76,000 girls. 

Moreover, NHS data on cases where self-harming episodes were so severe they led to hospital admissions showed an increase from 7,327 instances in 1997 to 13,463 in 2017.

According to the NSPCC, factors such as depression, bullying, emotional abuse and family problems are all common among those who self-harm in adolescence.

The survey findings also indicate a shift between the genders in the level of mental health problems, with girls having previously been happier than boys on average since 2003. However, girls are happier in terms of their schoolwork, indicating that it is other social pressures that are causing them most angst.

Chief executive at The Children's Society Matthew Reed said: "It is deeply worrying that so many children are unhappy to the extent that they are self-harming."

Discussing the findings, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health said mental health problems amount to "one of the biggest health epidemics of our time".

A spokesman remarked: "This country's mental health crisis is not going to go away overnight but with appropriate action from government there is hope that fewer children will have mental health worries and be happier with their life as a result."

Written by Angela Newbury

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