Self-harm among youth surges 22%

The rate of self-harming among children and young people soared 22% over a 10-year period to the end of 2016.

A study by the National Suicide Research Foundation also found a rise in the use of “lethal methods” of self-harming, which might be linked to exposure to certain websites, and a rise in the rate of self-harming among those aged 10 to 14.

However, the rate of self-harming was most pronounced among those aged 20-24 and those aged 15-19.

The study used data from the National Self-Harm Registry Ireland involving around 30,000 people.

The average rate of self-harm among 10- to 24-year-olds was 318 per 100,000 and peak rates were among 15- to 19-year-old females (564 per 100,000) and 20- to 24-year-old males (448 per 100,000).

The study said: “Between 2007 and 2016, rates of self-harm increased by 22%, with increases most pronounced for females and those aged 10-14 years. There were marked increases in specific methods of self-harm, including those associated with high lethality.

The lead author, Eve Griffin of University College Cork, said: “We observed large increases in self-harm in early adulthood. In Ireland, there are limited formal connections between child and adolescent and adult mental health services, which means that some young people do not make that transition.

“There may be an unmet need in terms of clinical services for this group.”

A recent report published found 70 children of school-going age died by suicide last year as mental health professionals begged for more staff.

The 70 children whose deaths were recorded by the National Educational Psychological Service did not include children aged 16-18 who were not at school.

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