New research reveals that one in four cases of self-harm go unreported and one in five occur under the influence of alcohol. Also, xix in ten ‘self-harmers’ mention suicidal wishes. The new study also shows that self-cutting is not confined to young girls, but is the most common form of self-harm amongst young boys too.
A study by a collaboration of academics across Europe, including Dr. Nicola Madge, Reader in Child Psychology at Brunel University’s Centre for Interdisciplinary Child and Youth Focused Research, now reveals the extent to which deliberate self-harm is rife amongst teenagers in seven different countries.
Commenting on the research, Dr. Madge explains: “This research shows that self-harm is an international, widespread yet often hidden problem, particularly among young girls. What’s needed now is more research into the factors that prevent self-harm thoughts leading to action, and the distinctions between those who harm themselves with and without suicidal intent. Identifying young people suffering from emotional and mental health difficulties, and providing them with appropriate care and support, is also essential. ”
The CASE (Child and Adolescent Self-harm in Europe) Study found that 3 in ten girls and 1 in ten boys have either self-harmed or considered doing so in the past year. Of these, 25 per cent had not confided in someone else about the incident and 12.4 per cent had not attended hospital as a result, suggesting that existing statistics about self-harm could be an underestimate.
Disturbingly, the research also found that more than half of self-harmers (59 per cent) mentioned that they ‘wanted to die’.
Other findings include:
- One in five incidences occur under the influence of alcohol (and one in eight under the influence of illegal drugs)
- Over all, self-cutting is the most common method of self-harm amongst both males and females
- Hungary is the only country studied in which overdosing is the dominant method
- Boys are more likely than girls to use methods that may have more serious outcomes such as self-battery, jumping and hanging.
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