Nearly 19,000 children and young people in England and Wales were hospitalised for self-harm last year, according to the NSPCC. This is an increase of almost 2,400 (14%) in the past three years.
These worrying figures were obtained by the NSPCC’s Freedom of Information Request (FOI) to NHS Trusts, and highlight the crisis many young people face as they struggle to cope with the pressures of modern day life. They collected data from all but six NHS Trusts in England and health boards in Wales, and found that 18,788 under-18s were admitted to hospital or treated at A&E units for self-harm in 2015-16. In 2013/14, there were 16,416 admissions for self-harm.
Childline delivered over 18,471 counselling sessions about self-harm last year, making it one of the most common reasons for children and young people to reach out for support. Their Call for Help appeal aims to make sure every young person who contact Childline receives the support they may desperately need.
Commenting on the recent rise in children hospitalised for self-harm in England, Anne Longfield, Children's Commissioner for England said: “The dramatic increase in the number of children seen in hospital last year due to self-harm is worrying. Left untreated, it can become a compulsion, so it is important that self-harm is identified early and that there are professionals that children can turn to if they need to. My review of school nurses published earlier this year found that nurses have the potential to play an important role in providing emotional support to children in school.
“Researchers believe that an increased time online is also fuelling anxiety. This is the focus of a project I am undertaking and will be reporting on in January. Growing up Digital will put forward proposals to help children manage their time online and for industry bodies to provide a better online environment for young people.”