Response to new research around self-harm in young people

Release Date: 24 October 2012

Source: Mental Health Foundation

Country: United Kingdom

Simon Lawton-Smith, Head of Policy:

“It is startling to see that over three quarters of young people don’t know where to turn to talk about self-harm and that many GPs and teachers don’t have enough knowledge to deal with this issue.  

What’s more, things are getting no better. Six years ago we undertook a National Inquiry into self-harm among young people (1). Our findings were very similar – misunderstanding about self-harm among professionals, including GPs; teachers not knowing how to respond to self-harm; professionals and adults reacting inappropriately, making children reluctant to seek help.

Self-harm as a way of coping with very real mental distress can have a devastating impact on children, their friends and their families. We must invest in effective, evidence-based early interventions for children who are experiencing emotional difficulties. And we must respond to self-harming behaviour non-judgementally, by addressing the underlying causes.”

(1) Mental Health Foundation and Camelot Foundation (2006), Truth Hurts: Report of the National Inquiry into Self-harm among Young People.