2019-06-12 18:18 #0 by: Leia

In my last post, I explained I was currently undergoing some training surrounding mental health. Here is what I learnt today:


It is difficult to get accurate data on self-harm prevalence because a lot of self-harm is kept secret. The best estimate of self-harm prevalence is one in every 12 to 15 young people. We know self-harm levels are higher among young people with emotional or conduct disorders than the average.  People generally find self-harm difficult to talk about, as can be seen in the study 'Talking self-harm YoungMinds/Cello (2012)':

  • 3 in 4 young people don't know where to turn to talk about self-harm
  • A third of parents would not seek professional help if their child was self-harming
  • Almost half of GPs feel that they don't understand young people who self-harm and their motivations

Why self-harming? 

There are many different reasons why young people self-harm: Some people won't be able to explain why they self-harm - they might not know or they may not be able to express it in words.

  • Release of unbearable pressure
  • Jolt back to reality (when disassociating)
  • Escape from the unbearable emotional present
  • Deflection of emotional to physical pain
  • To have some control where this has previously been taken away
  • Self-punishment

 Signs and symptoms

 There are many signs and symptoms to look out for that may indicate a young person is struggling with their mental health. Below are some key things to be aware of:

    • A sense of physical release
    • Change in behaviour from what is normal for that young person
    • Not taking care of their appearance or hygiene
    • Absence or sickness (in adolescence, young people often experience physical symptoms of anxiety or stress before they necessarily can articulate the issue, such as being sick before coming to programme)
    • Socially isolated or withdrawing
    • Erratic behaviour or mood swings
    • Risk-taking behaviour
    • Anger and aggression
    • Not being able to concentrate and seeming distracted
    • Avoiding friends and activities they used to find fun
    • Seeming jumpy or nervous for no obvious reasons
    • Panic attacks
    • Tired
    • Change in appetite
    • Lack of aspiration or not being able to predict positive things happening in the future

    Photo by Alvin Mahmudov on Unsplash