According to recently released NHS data, child hospital admissions for ‘intentional harm with a sharp object’ have increased by 132%.
Statistics from ChildLine also reflect a sharp increase. The number of children and teenagers looking for support after considering self-harm has gone up by around two thirds in the last year alone.
Children are most likely to seek support for self-harm because of ‘family relationships’, the charity has reported.
In the last year ChildLine conducted 16,264 counselling sessions for children and teenagers worried they might harm themselves and 12,260 sessions for teenagers worried about suicide.
ChildLine chief Sue Minto said: “It seems the pressures facing children and young people, particularly girls, are increasing at such a rate that some of them see drastic measures as the only answer to their problems.”
She added that although boys are equally as likely to suffer, they are less likely to seek help.
Ms Minto believes there has been a noticeable change in problems children face since the charity launched in 1986.
To begin with sexual abuse was the main problem, but today more and more young people are finding it hard to deal with family problems.
The most recent figures for the UK suggest that around four million children live in broken families and 300,000 children every year witness their parents separate – a harrowing experience that often has complex repercussions.
The increase in young people seeking help might be down to the accessibility of support now available through the Internet. Discussing potentially awkward subjects such as self-harm and suicide may be easier to do via email than through the phone.
To find out more about counselling for young people, please visit our Child Related Issues page.
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