Children as young as 10 self-harming

Two of the country's leading mental health charities have warned that children as young as 10 are presenting at hospitals with injuries resulting from self-harm.

Children as young as 10 self-harming

Two of the country's leading mental health charities have warned that children as young as 10 are presenting at hospitals with injuries resulting from self-harm.

The stark warning comes from St Patrick's Mental Health Services and Pieta House as they prepare to mark Self-Injury Awareness Day tomorrow.

They are calling for 'further education, awareness and understanding' of self-harm.

According to the National Suicide Research Foundation (NSRF), there was a 21% increase in self-harm in 10 to 24-year-olds between 2010 and 2017 and that there are twice as many incidences of self-harm in the LGBTI+ community in comparison to their non-LGBTI+ peers.

In the first six months of 2018, there were 6,124 presentations to hospital due to self-harm, a 4% increase from the same period in 2017.

More than half of those presentations were made by women and 49% of presentations were by persons under the age of 20.

The figures show 5,052 individuals were treated following self-harm. The national rate of persons presenting to hospital following self-harm was 221 per 100,000.

The highest rates of self-harm are among adolescents and young adults, with children as young as 10 presenting with injuries due to self-harm.

Tom Maher, director of services with St Patrick's Mental Health Services, said the figures demonstrate a "fundamental need for further education, awareness and understanding" of self-harm.

"In reality, the incidences of self-harm are even higher than the recorded figures as many people will not present to hospitals at all; often as a result of the stigma and negative attitudes towards mental health difficulties that are still engrained within Irish society," he said.

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