selfharmA 68% rise in cases of young people self-harming being reported to ChildLine has prompted charity YoungMinds to claim that "parents, teachers and GPs are crying out for more help in supporting children who self-harm".

The findings, based on more than 3 million reports given to ChildLine last year, suggest that self-harming is the fastest rising risk to young people's physical and mental health.

ChildLine director Peter Liver said: "There have been notable changes in the problems children contact us about since ChildLine launched in 1986. Originally, sexual abuse was the major issue but now the pendulum is swinging towards family problems, self-harm, and suicide."

The issue is also beginning to affect a greater number of younger children, appearing for the first time as a leading concern among 14-year-olds calling ChildLine. The charity suggest this is due to "the relentless and pervasive nature of modern technology, with texting, social networking and websites meaning children find it hard to escape pressures such as bullying".

The ChildLine data supports the findings of YoungMinds' recent report with the Cello Group 'Talking Self-Harm' which showed:
-3 in 4 young people don't know where to turn to talk about self-harm
-A third of parents would not seek professional help if their child was self-harming
-Almost half GPs feel that they don't understand young people who self-harm and their motivations
-2 in 3 teachers don't know what to say to young people who self-harm

Lucie Russell, Director of Campaigns, Policy and Participation at YoungMinds said: "These latest figures are deeply worrying. More and more young people are turning to self-harm as a coping mechanism because they are in terrible emotional distress.

"Parents, teachers and GPs are all crying out for more support and training to be able to support children who are self-harming. There is an urgent imperative to build the emotional resilience of children and young people across society and in particular in school. If parents, teachers, GPs get the support they need to help young people who self-harm and young people develop the skills to combat adversity and deal with the emotional rollercoaster of childhood and the teenage years, the rate of self-harm will start to reduce."

There was also a substantial increase in children contacting ChildLine about potential suicides, up by 39% on last year while the biggest single reason for children getting in touch is because of "family relationships".

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Posted 12/12/12 by