Accident and emergency departments treated more than 110,000 cases of self-harm by self-poisoning in the UK last year, says the British Red Cross.
Self-harm by self-poisoning has increased by more than 50 per cent across all age groups in the last 10 years and hospitals had more than 110,000 admissions as a result of self-poisoning.
Paul Donnelly, head of campaigns at the British Red Cross, said: “Self-harm is a difficult subject for people to talk about, and self-harm by poisoning is something that particularly worried us, as the figures are so high and many people wouldn’t know what to do if they came across a friend or family member who had taken a harmful substance.
“It’s an intimidating subject, but our research shows that young people are concerned about it and need advice. It’s vital that we give young people first aid advice that helps them take control of the situation, feel confident to act and maybe even save someone’s life,” he added.
The British Red Cross have worked with YoungMinds to produce video and Facebook first aid advice on the first actions to take on discovering someone who has taken a harmful substance. The Facebook page includes 10 pieces of advice for young people on how to help friends who may have self-harmed or are at risk of self-harming.
Around one in 12 young people self-harm at some point in their lives. A British Red Cross poll found that 42 per cent of young pople knew someone that had self-harmed and eight out of 10 said they would like to know what first aid they could do to help someone.
The advice forms part of a wider campaign called Life.LiveIt, aimed at young people aged 11-18. Last month the charity also sent a DVD to schools to help tackle accidents that can result from drinking.
The British Red Cross are also campaigning to call on the government to put first aid and humanitarian education on the new curriculum. For details go to Public, Citizen, Lifesaver.