Hospital Admission On The Rise For Self-Harm in Children

Recent NHS figures reveal that 3,988 youngsters between the ages of nine and seventeen were taken to hospital last year with self-harm injuries. This figure has risen dramatically since 2011 when it was 1,725 and the data revealed that girls were five times as likely to be admitted as boys.

This news comes hot on the heels of the furore last month when Molly Russell’s father accused Instagram of helping to kill his daughter. Fourteen-year-old Molly was found dead in 2017 after viewing material online which was linked to self-harm, depression and suicide. Following the outcry over Molly’s death, Instagram and Facebook promised to ban some images of self-harm but Instagram will still allow users to post images of wounds that have healed so as not to ‘isolate’ those in distress.

Dr Louise Theodosiou, of the Royal College of Psychiatrists told the Daily Mail: ‘If we look at what’s happening in relation to Instagram, there does seem to be the potential for websites to be normalising self-harm. Self-harm is being normalised.’

Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner told the Daily Mail: ‘The alarming rise in the number of children admitted for self-harm shows how urgently we need a children’s mental healthcare system that provides early help and support…I want to see all schools have access to an NHS-funded counsellor, who can deal with problems quickly in school rather than leaving worries to grow and become more serious.’

A spokesman for the children’s charity NSPCC said: ‘Young people are crying out for help and more needs to be done to prevent them from reaching crisis point. A key step in this process is ensuring every child and young person feels confident they will be supported when they do speak up so they don’t end up trapped in a vicious cycle where they believe hurting themselves is the only solution.’

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: ‘The Government is committed to improving the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people and addressing issues such as self-harm, and we are transforming their mental health services – backed by £1.05billion last year alone.

‘We are ensuring 345,000 more children will have access to specialist mental health care by 2023/24. ‘

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