Fact of the Day: Fifth of 14-year-old Girls in UK Have Self-Harmed, New Research Says – And Here’s Why

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A new shocked Britain. According to the study, almost a quarter of 14-year-old girls in the UK said they had self-harmed.

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Hard to be a teen these days

teen-depression-self-harm-photo

Source: Getty Images

A recent survey of 11,000 children found 22% of the girls and 9% of the boys said they had deliberately hurt themselves, in the year prior to the questionnaire.

Rates of self-harm were worst (46%) among those who were attracted to people of the same or both genders. The charity estimated that 110,000 children aged 14 may be self-harming, including 76,000 girls and 33,000 boys.

According to the experts, such behaviour is a result of pressure from school, austerity and gender expectations.

“It is deeply worrying that so many children are unhappy to the extent that they are self-harming. Worries about how they look are a big issue, especially for girls,” said Matthew Reed, the chief executive of the Children’s Society.

The mental health campaigner Natasha Devon, who works with young people in schools, said that while the self-harm figures were upsetting they were not surprising.

“Self-harm at its root is a coping mechanism like having a glass of wine or smoking a cigarette … these are all self-harming activities … most people say they started doing it as it felt good,” she said. “They did it in response to not feeling heard or not being able to articulate what was wrong. Over time it is addictive.”

‘If we’re not perfect we punish ourselves’

teen-depression-self-harm-photo

Source: ALAMY

An 18-year-old Jessica from South Wales said she started self-harming at the age of 13 because it helped her to feel in control of something.

“I would feel euphoric afterwards. I found physical pain easier to control than what was going on in my mind. The moments I felt pain were the moments my thoughts stopped and all I focused on was the physical discomfort.”

“Girls feel pressure from a younger and younger age these days”, she continues. “We feel pressure to be perfect and when they don’t achieve that they punish themselves.”

The impact of social media, gender stereotypes and pressure from the society combines with the hormones spike starting from the age of 14. Usually, self-harming becomes the only obvious way to reduce stress among teens.

“The solution is better education about mental health, so people know where to go if they are struggling. There needs to be more resources. I am getting better now and on the road back to recovery but it’s been a long journey. The most important part of getting better for me was knowing I am not alone and others have experienced this.”


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Summary
Fact of the Day: Fifth of 14-year-old Girls in UK Have Self-Harmed, New Research Says - And Here's Why
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Fact of the Day: Fifth of 14-year-old Girls in UK Have Self-Harmed, New Research Says - And Here's Why
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A new research shocked Britain. According to the study, almost a quarter of 14-year-old girls in the UK said they had self-harmed.
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