More than 100,000 youngsters could be hospitalised each year because of self-harm, the charity YoungMinds has warned.

The warning comes after figures were obtained in a parliamentary question by Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson. The figures revealed that:

 - Inpatient hospital admissions for young people as a result of self-harm has increased 68 per cent in the last ten years

 - Hospital admissions for the under 25s increased by 10 per cent alone in the last year as a result of self-harm

 - There has been a 77 per cent increase of females admitted to hospital due to self-harm over the last 10 years.

Lucie Russell, director of campaigns, policy and participation at YoungMinds, said: ""These shocking statistics should act as a wake-up call to everyone who cares about the welfare of young people. More and more children and young people are using self-harm as a mechanism to cope with the pressures of life and this just isn't acceptable. Self-harm is often dismissed as merely attention seeking behaviour but it's a sign that young people are feeling terrible internal pain and are not coping.

"Young people today are growing up in a harsh environment with ever increasing stress to perform at school, next to zero job prospects and the constant pressure to keep up with the latest consumer trends. Social networking although creating ever greater circles of 'friends' often leaves young people feeling even more isolated and alone.

"Everyone should take responsibility for the next generation if we don't want these projected figures to become a reality, parents need the tools to give their children the necessary support, schools need to place much more emphasis on teaching emotional resilience and coping skills and services that intervene early when mental health problems first arise need to be given much greater priority and appropriate investment."

Jo Swinson, Liberal Democrat MP for East Dunbartonshire said: "Worryingly these figures are only the tip of the iceberg as they only record hospital inpatient admissions. The true figure of how many children and young people are self-harming is likely to be far far higher."

For more information on YoungMinds visit www.youngminds.org.uk. Any parent or carer who is worried that their child might be self-harming should call the YoungMinds Parents' Helpline on 0808 802 5544.

Posted by Robert Mair on 2/12/2011