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Understanding self-harm in kids

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Self harming
Most of us won't have had much experience of self-harming or know anyone that's self-harmed but new research suggests that it's a real concern among young people and the problem is on the rise.

Between 2006-2007, nearly 16,000 children were admitted to hospital in the UK because of self-harming - that's over 4,000 more than five years ago and this figure only includes those that had treatment - not those that kept it a secret. A new study has also revealed that girls consider self-harm to be a normal way of managing stress, which is a huge worry.

MPs are now calling for more specialist mental health treatment for children and young people on the NHS.

So what exactly is self-harm, why are kids doing it and what can you do to help?

What is self-harm?

Self-harming is when a person cuts or hurts themselves in some way as a way of coping with deep distress or upset.

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There are a lot of different ways in which people can self-harm - cutting, burning or scratching at their skin are some of the most common, but don't forget that eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia are also forms of harming the body. Even getting really drunk, or taking drugs can be forms of self-harming if kids do it intentionally to hurt themselves.

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gary

hi I self harm every day I cut my arms with sharp object

Anonymous

im a teen im 16 i cut myself almost everyday, ino how it feels for other peoplee too. Once uv cut ureself oncee u wana do it again and again.. peoplee have many different reasons why they selfharm, some are jus seeking attention and some aree very depressed/ upset. When ur a teenager its hard to deal with what life throws at youu, i was raped at 6 and in secondary and december 20th 2008.. itss to much for someone so young and fragilee to go thru.. so thats why i resort to cutting myself everynightt when im sitting all alone!

Teacher

Hello, I'm new here. I'm asking for help because of what I have seen. I'm a teacher, and in my school, we have been seeing a lot of SI. Most of the kids that we have discovered with SI belong to the "emos." We even caught five of them harming themselves in the the restroom. While not all of the kids harming themselves belong to this "emo" thing, about 75% do. Our school administration and counselors have done what they can. The involved kids are refusing treatment, and we fear for their safety. The only resource that we have found that fits our situation is this: http://emodanger.co.cc. This site seems to match exactly what we are seeing, but there isn't much to say there if there is no cooperation. If one has an issue with SI, please don't visit this site. The owner puts up warnings, since he or she shows what these "emo" kids post on-line. There are many pictures about self injury and suicide. If you are dealing with kids that self injure, and they refuse to accept that it is a problem, and say that it's part of their "culture," how do you approach them?

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