Number of North East girls self-harming at all time high

Joan Freeman, CEO Pieta House

Image credit: Joe Houghton

More North East girls are self-harming than ever before according to recent statistics.

The number of 10 to 14-year-old girls self harming has almost doubled from 2011-2014, according to figures from Hospital Episode Statistics (HES).

The same figures also showed a 10 per cent increase among girls aged 15 to 19-years-old.

Rachel Welch, Project Director of leading charity selfharm UK, said: “Typically we have more contact with girls. They are stereotypically more likely to talk about emotions and struggles than boys.”

However, despite the rise in number of young girls coming forward, new information released by Young Minds for their Self-Harm Awareness Day on March 1 reported that only a third of 11 to 18-year-olds said they would go online for support and information about self-harm.

At the age of only 13, after nearly losing her mother to pneumonia and her sister was receiving heart surgery, a 20-year-old Sunderland resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “I had felt so many emotions in such a short space of time that it all became too much. I felt empty. I self-harmed to feel something.

“I know lots of people think that people self-harm because they want to die, but I didn’t want to die. I wanted a release.”

After trying and failing to talk to a counsellor, the 20-year-old has gone on to battle with self-harming throughout her life and thinks more needs to be done to help people who feel like they cannot talk to professionals.

She added: “All they did was ask how I felt all the time and it just kept reminding me of what had happened. They said it was meant to help me, but if anything, it just made it worse.”

As part of Self-Harm Awareness Day, selfharm UK, as well as other charities such as Young Minds, Childline and YouthNet, want to stamp out the misconceptions about self-harming and encourage young people to talk about their problems.

Ms Welch added: “Professionals want to help, but sometimes they need a bit more direction from who they’re supporting. We would advise being honest that the contact with a professional isn’t feeling helpful.”

You can find out more about Self-Harm Awareness Day activity on Twitter via #selfharm and #selfharmawarenessday and on each of the charities websites.#####

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