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Self-harm

  • 6 - 8% of children and young people deliberately self harm
  • 50%of those who die by suicide have a history of self-harm
  • In 5 yearsthe number of under-sixteens hospitalised after self-harming has almost doubled

What is self-harm? 

Self-harm is when someone purposefully injures their body. Normally it is a way of coping with or expressing overwhelming emotional pain.

For some people self-harm can offer a kind of temporary relief from unbearable distress, or the intention might be to punish themselves or cry out for help. It is usually a combination of these things.

There are different types of self-harm, for example cutting, burning or substance misuse, and because of the shame and stigma surrounding self-harm people will often try to keep it a secret.

Self-harm is more common than many people realise, especially among younger people. However, it is linked to anxiety and depression which can affect people of any age.

Some people who self-harm are at risk of suicide; however, many people who self-harm do not want to die, it is a coping strategy to deal with the feelings inside.

Need help

Get information and advice on anxiety disorder at NHS Choices. If you're having a mental health emergency find out who to turn to using our urgent help and advice resource.

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