Big rise in self-harm among Britons

Thursday 26th March, 2009

New figures from the World Health Organisation (WHO) show the number of people self-harming has dramatically increased by a third in the last five years.

The highest rate is among young women aged 16-24 but over 4,000 children aged under 14 were admitted to hospital for deliberate self-harming between 2007-08.

Since 2000, there has been an 80% increase in admissions of young women self-harming with an overall total reaching nearly 98,000.

The significant increases in self-harm are believed to be due to mental health problems caused by perceived inequalities between the rich and poor and unattainable lifestyles of the rich and famous presented by the media. These factors are causing physical and psychological stresses leading to health problems.

Other factors could be from a growing trend for the young to communicate their distress and anger through extreme measures such as drug overdoses and cutting of wrists in an effort to cope.

Self-harm is often seen as a secret activity so the avoidance of hospital goes against the action however the rising numbers of admission suggests the problem is escalating and out of control.

Recent research suggests that too much pressure is placed on young girls to grow up quickly, that coupled with the stresses of modern life is producing a generation of young women unable to cope and displaying their emotional turmoil through self-harm.

Self-harm is a common topic searched for on the internet however the majority of people will never actually seek help or talk to anybody about it.

Healthcare professionals are expecting further increases in depression and anxiety and a rise in the number of people attempting suicide or self-harming.

Trying to live up to a rich celebrity-obsessed culture is causing social exclusion for many teenagers and there is a strong link between self-harm and feelings of inadequacy and inequality. Self-harming is still misunderstood and the condition has a strong negative stigma attached to it.



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