Updated: Feb 22, 2019
On the 26th of August 2018, BBC news reported that a fifth of 14-year-old girls in the UK ‘have self-harmed’.
Self-harm can be described as “when somebody intentionally damages or injures their body. It's usually a way of coping with or expressing overwhelming emotional distress” (NHS:2018)
Although I have never self- harmed, the reason why I feel this topic is important is because there has been an increase in the number of young adolescents who self- harm. I have spoken to some friends who have self- harmed or met people who have, and one of the main reasons for these people self- harming is due to depression. Growing up in a society whereby the “rates of stress, anxiety and depression are rising sharply among teenage girls in what mental specialist says is a ‘deeply worrying’ trend “which is much less present in boys of the same age. Statistics reveal that the number of times a girl aged 17 or under admitted to hospital because of self-harm has increased from 10, 500 to more than 17, 500 a year over the past decade (showing a rise of 68 %). This was much higher in comparison to boys, where their jump was only 26%. (Campbell, 2018).
People often think their alone when they self- harm and are reluctant to tell others because they feel as if they’ll be judged. There have been several celebrities who have come forward and said that they self- harm. Willow Smith recently admitted to her mother and grandmother that she had past experiences with self-harm. In the video where Smith talks about self-harm, she mentions that she hid it from her family, however she spoke about it to emphasise the fact that she doesn’t want others to follow in her footsteps.
The NSPCC says common reasons for self-harming include:
· pressure at school
· emotional abuse
· having relationship problems with family or friends
*At this point, you may be reading this post and think to yourself that it is not relevant to your life. But you may come across a friend, family member or relative who is going through this; and by being aware of self- harm you may be able to help the person.
If you usually suffer from self- harm, there are many ways to seek help. Do not feel alone, there are people out there that can help and support you. The NHS website states that the best way to seek help is to contact your GP for help. Once you have seen your local GP, they can refer you to a healthcare professional at a local community mental health service, whereby they will carry out further assessments. For more details on how to seek help dealing with self- harm please visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/self-harm/
If you’re reluctant to visit your local GP, start by telling a relative you trust or a friend. Never go through this alone.
Steps to dealing with Self- harm:
First step is speaking out.
Work on yourself – this could be seeing a therapist or listening to motivational messages
Psalm 34:17 - The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.
For more professional guidance, please use the links below:
Campbell, D. (2017) Stress and social media fuel mental health crisis among girls. Available at:https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/sep/23/stress-anxiety-fuel-mental-health-crisis-girls-young-women(Accessed:11 September 2018).
NHS (2018) Self harm. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/self-harm/ (Accessed: 12 September 2018).
Park, A. (2018) Willow Smith tells mom Jada Pinkett Smith about her past experiences with self- harm. Available at: https://www.self.com/story/willow-smith-self-harm (Accessed: 12 September 2018).
Therrien, A. (2018) Fifth of 14- year old girls in the UK ‘have self- harmed’. Available at: https://www.bbc.com/news/health-45329030 (Accessed: 12 September 2018).