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Massive increase in number of teen boys self harming

The number of cases of young boys being admitted to hospital for self-harming is at a five-year high, new UK figures reveal.

Experts warned of an "epidemic of self-harm" and said bullying, stress at school and sexual pressure is driving young people to the desperate act.

Admissions of boys aged 10 to 14 have soared by 30pc over the past five years, from 454 in 2009 to 2010 to 659 in 2013 to 2014.

The number of young boys admitted to hospital for self-harming has increased nearly every year over the past five years, according to statistics from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).

And the number of cases of girls aged 10 to 14 self-harming has also increased dramatically, nearly doubling from 3,090 in 2009 to 2010 to 5,955 in 2013 to 2014.

Lucie Russell, director of campaigns at YoungMinds, said: "These figures are sadly just the tip of the iceberg as many young people will be suffering in silence and not getting medical attention or support. For too long self-harm has been dismissed as something that is just an issue for teenage girls.

"We need to recognise that this is an issue for boys as well.

AGGRESSIVE

"Boys may often self-harm differently to girls, they may bang their heads or punch walls, and often this is seen as just aggressive behaviour rather than self-harm.

"Both boys and girls are under a lot of pressure and we need to make sure help and support is available for both them and their families as soon as they need it."

She told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme that calls to their hotline had "gone through the roof over the last few years" as children struggle to cope with bullying, stress at school and sexual pressure.

She said: "There is a lot of family breakdown, there are addiction issues in families, poverty issues, there is a lot of stress at school in terms of having to perform and pass exams, there's bullying, 24/7 online culture, sexual pressures, issues around body image.

"All those issues affect boys too."

Self-harm can include cutting, burning and intentional self-poisoning.

The HSCIC said the figures related to the number of admissions, rather than individual patients and may include multiple admissions.

hnews@herald.ie


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