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Nearly 19,000 children and young people in England and Wales were hospitalised for self-harm last year – an increase of almost 2,400 (14%) in the past three years.
The NSPCC’s figures, collected from all but six NHS Trusts in England and health boards in Wales highlight the crisis many young people face as they struggle to cope with the pressures of modern day life.
Self-harming is one of the most common reasons for children to contact the charity’s Childline service. Last year the helpline dealt with more than 18,000 calls about self-harm.
Dame Esther Rantzen, Childline president said: “It’s deeply disturbing that so many children and young people are ending up in hospital because they are injuring themselves so seriously. Self-harming is at epidemic level among young people, at Childline we hear from them every day.
“It has become one of the most common problems young people bring to us, and I know from our counsellors that these are some of the most painful stories we hear. Often the young people feel too ashamed and fearful to seek help from those around them, until they harm themselves so badly they have to be rushed to hospital.
“Childline is here for them and is free, confidential and open 24/7. It really does help to contact our counsellors who care about you and want to support you.”
How to help a child who is self-harming?
◾Listen, understand and show empathy
◾Talk it over and try to work how what is making them self-harm
◾Build up their confidence and show they can trust you
◾Help them find new ways to cope
Children and young people can contact Childline for free, confidential support and advice, 24 hours a day on 0800 1111 or on their website https://www.childline.org.uk/