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Self-harm statistics

11 Nov, 2020

Self-harm statistics are hard to measure because they depend on people coming forward and allowing themselves to be counted. And who defines who is a self-harmer?

How many people self-harm?

It's almost impossible to say how many young people are self-harming. This is because very few teenagers tell anyone what's going on, so it's incredibly difficult to keep records or have an accurate idea of scale. It is thought that nearly a quarter of 14 year olds have self-harmed*, but the actual figure could be much higher.

Research has shown that the average age that self-harm begins is 12, which is likely to relate to the change from primary to secondary school and the onset of puberty*.

Girls are thought to be more likely to self-harm than boys, but this could be because boys are more likely to engage in behaviours such as punching a wall, which isn't always recognised as self-harm or doesn’t come to the attention of hospitals. 24% of boys aged 16-24 have used self-harm as a way of coping according to research by Young Minds, The Mix and SelfharmUK in 2017. In reality self-harm doesn't happen to one type of person, it can't be predicted and scarily, we don't really know how many people are going through it. This is all really vague, but you can take one thing away from it - you are not alone, whether you are harming or seeing someone you love or work with go though it. It's more common than you think. Don't believe us? You can read about Emma's story here.

*https://cls.ucl.ac.uk/cls_rese...

*https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/docs...

*www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg16/evidence/cg16-selfharm-full-guideline-2

* http://www.hscic.gov.uk/media/14858/Self-HarmAreaTeamagegender2011-2014/xls/SelfHarm_AreaTeam_age_gender_2011-2014.xlsx

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