There is increased evidence to suggest that greater numbers of children in the UK are inflicting what is called 'self - harm'. Whilst this is often framed as a 'young adult/teenage' risk and action, there are increasing numbers of cases where pupils in their primary years are carrying out self - harm acts.
The reasons for the increase are unclear, however, wider access to unfiltered/unsupervised access to social media platforms which can depict methods and strategies for self-harm, mental health conditions arising from Covid isolation and detachments are possible and likely factors.
The reasons children and teenagers can self-harm are often complicated and will be different for every child or young person. Sometimes a child or teenager may not know the reasons they self-harm.
For many young people, self-harm can feel like a way to cope with difficult feelings or to release tension. The physical pain of hurting themselves can feel like a distraction from the emotional pain they're struggling with.
Some difficult experiences or emotions can make self-harm more likely in children:
It can be hard to recognise the signs of self-harm in children and teenagers, but as a parent it’s important to trust your instincts if you’re worried something’s wrong.
Signs to look out for can include:
If you are aware of or suspect a child is inflicting self - harm, has been researching or watching images/clips online, you should see to support them.
Below is a link to the NHS guidance provided for families who are aware of self harm. Support is available.
or call 111 / Childline: 0800 11 11