Young Women Show Higher Rates of Self-harm

YoungMinds says new statistics showing high rates of self-harm amongst young women should act as a wake-up call to those interested in their mental health and wellbeing.

The report, released today by NHS Digital, not only shows a gender gap in mental illness but also that one in four young women reported self-harming at one point.

Gender Gap

The latest report from The National Study of Health and Wellbeing, carried out every seven years since 1993, is based on research on 7,500 members of the public (approx. 300 of them were women aged 16-24).

  • The proportion of the population reporting self-harming was 6% up from 4% in 2007 and 2% in 2000. Researchers suggest the increase could be due to increased reporting.
  • In 2014, one in five women aged 16 to 24 (25.7%) reported self-harming at some point.
  • That is almost twice the rate for men in this age group (9.7%) and women aged 25 to 34 (13.2%).

Alarming Statistics 

Nick Harrop, Media and Campaigns Manager for YoungMinds said: 

These alarming statistics should act as a wake-up call to everyone who cares about the wellbeing of young people. More and more children and young people are using self-harm as a way of coping with the pressures they face – including school stress, body image issues, bullying on and offline, around-the-clock social media and uncertainty about their future after school or university.

To make matters worse, when young people are struggling, it can be extremely difficult for them to get the support they need. The government has committed an extra £1.4bn towards children and young people’s mental health services, but it’s crucial that this money is protected and spent where it’s needed most.

Getting the Right Help

If you are a worried parent who thinks their child might be self-harming, here are five helpful tips from YoungMinds through the eyes of young person:

  1. Try not to judge: My parents didn’t like it, but they didn’t think it made me a bad person.
  2. Be honest: My parents told me they didn’t get it – nor did I. Their honesty and questions helped me to open up about it.
  3. Accept recovery as a process: I can’t stop. Not right now. If you ask me to, I’ll feel I’m letting you down. It’s going to take time.
  4. Listen: My dad said very little. He just listened. It was exactly what I needed.
  5. Talk about other things too: I’m more than my self-harm. It doesn’t have to be the focus of every conversation.
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