UK has the highest rate of self-harm in Europe.
About 1 in 10 young people have self harmed.
It is nearly 3 times more common in women than men.
The highest number of calls made to Childline are from 12 year old kids self harming.
At least half the people who end their own lives have a history of self harm.
Around 200,000 episodes of self harm present to hospitals per year.
Many people who self harm do not seek help. Hence they are not reported or recorded.
What Self harm is not :
-Attention seeking behavior.
-A selfish act
-Done for pleasure
-A group or sub-culture activity
-A copy-cat response
Why is it done?
A release or distraction from emotional distress.
An expression of anguish.
An act of survival – a way to postpone suicide.
A form of self-punishment for feeling ‘bad’ or ‘dirty’.
A way of feeling’in control’
To feel real or alive if they have been feeling numb.
Difficulties in problem-solving
Difficulty coping with anger
Difficulty dealing with sexuality.
What to do if someone is found self-harming?
- Stay with the young person and if necessary, take them to A&E.
- Monitor closely
- Use Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire to make a judgement on mental well being.
- Ask about suicide
- Administer first aid
- Advise them to get help: GPs/Psychologists/Psychiatrists/CAMHS
- Introduce them to self-help strategies
What not to do:
- Do not blame them or make them feel guilty
- Take them seriously
- Do not act shocked even if you are
- Avoid panic or anger
- Be patient. It can be very hard for them to talk about it.
- Don’t dismiss them as manipulative / attention seeking.