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Sharp rise in reports of children self-harming

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Nearly 20,000 children were hospitalised Nearly 20,000 children were hospitalised due to self harm

There has been a 14% rise in the number of children hospitalised due to self harm, figures obtained by the NSPCC have shown.

A total of 18,788 children and young people were admitted to hospital due to self-harm in 2015/16, compared to 16,416 in 2013. The figures were obtained by the NSPCC through a series of Freedom of Information requests, which were responded to by nearly every trust in England and Wales.

‘Self-harming is at epidemic level among young people,’ said Esther Rantzen, president of Childline. 'It's deeply disturbing that so many children and young people are ending up in hospital because they are injuring themselves so seriously.’

Self-harm has been found to be one of the most common reasons for a young person to contact Childline. The service delivered 18,471 counselling sessions about self-harm last year.

‘It has become one of the most common problems young people bring to us, and I know from our counsellors that these are some of the most painful stories we hear,’ added Ms Rantzen. ‘Often the young people feel too ashamed and fearful to seek help from those around them, until they harm themselves so badly they have to be rushed to hospital.’

According to Dr Max Davie, assistant officer for health promotion for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, a lack of education on mental health and emotional wellbeing in schools is exacerbating the crisis.

‘Early intervention is essential if we are to reduce the number of children self-harming and needing specialist mental health or emergency services. One way of providing this early intervention is for all schools to deliver comprehensive Personal Social Health Economic education,’ he said.

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