Self-harm between girls aged 13-16 rose by 68%
According to an article from The Independent, up to 68% of teenagers girls self-harm. A study suggested that Self Harm was 3 times more common among girls than boys and those who did self-harm are at a much greater risk of suicide.
Self-harm can be formed in various ways such as cutting, burning, bruising or overdosing and there are many reasons as to why children and young people hurt themselves. Self Harm can become a compulsion and children and young people begin to have an obsessive with harming themselves. However, Self Harm isn’t usually a suicide attempt, yet it is a way for young people to release their emotions, take control and cope with their situation.
Children and young people self-harm for various reasons and for whatever reason that may be, it should be taken seriously and sensitively. Reasons such as; low self-esteem, sadness, anger or simply a lack of control can all influence a young person wanting to release their pain. Due to these reasons being emotional and psychological, the physical pain of self-harm may be an easier way to deal with what is going on in their lives.
Spotting the signs of self-harm can be difficult, as children and young people will go to great lengths to cover any marks that might look suspicious. Marks and scars can also be covered up as accidents and they may begin lying as to how they received the marks on their body. By spotting the signs as soon as possible, can prevent further harm and can encourage children to get the help they need.
Physical and Emotional signs of self-harm;
- Cuts, Bruising & Burns.
- Depression & low self-esteem.
- Becoming withdrawn or sudden weight loss or gain.
As explained before, spotting the signs of self-harm can be difficult and even when you do spot the signs, the young person may not admit to what they are doing. It is important to understand what your child might be feeling and going through to determine what is happening. As much as it may have an impact on yourself discovering what is happening, it is vital to offer continual support to the child and put their well-being first. For the child to know you are there for help and support, might give them the motivation to seek help.
Self-harm is often used as a coping mechanism and is a way for a child to take control and release the pain they are feeling. By feeling physical pain, it might eradicate the emotional pain behind it. Although, when a person self-harms, chemicals are released into the brain which then becomes addictive. When self-harming, the young person may feel a sense of relief, however, this relief is short-lived and immediately replaced by guilt, therefore, continuing the self-harming cycle.
Children and young people find the need to self-harm for various reasons and feel that sense of relief when they do so. However, self-harm becomes a compulsion and young people will find it hard to stop and continue to cover their marks and scars. As a parent or carer, if you spot any signs of self-harm, speak to you child sensitively and in an appropriate manner. Create a trusting relationship to ensure the child knows you are there to support and not judge.
Article source: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/keeping-children-safe/self-harm/