NEARLY 19,000 children werehospitalised after self – harming last year, according to statistics revealed by the NSPCC today.
This shocking figure displays a considerable increase of almost 14 per cent over the past three years.
It was revealed that teenagers aged 13 to 17 are most likely to end up hospitalised for acts of self – harm, which includeS cutting their bodies, overdosing on pills or burning themselves.
The new figures are backed up by Childline, the confidential helpline, which delivered over 18,000 counselling sessions about self – harm last year – equivalent to 50 per day.
Childline President, Dame Esther Rantzen, said: “It has become one of the most common problems young people bring to us, and I know from our counselors that these are some of the most painful stories we hear.
“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.”
A 14 – year – old girl, who remains anonymous due to confidentiality, contacted Childline and explained her story:
“Recently I’ve lost some people that were really close to me. When I started to self-harm it seemed to mask the emotional pain I was feeling, even if it only helped for a little while.
“When I get the urge to cut, I can’t seem to stop it until it’s done; otherwise I get really upset and angry. A couple of times I have gone too far and ended up in hospital.”
NSPCC’s revelation only came to light after putting in a Freedom Of Information Request to the NHS trust and health services.
Peter Wanless, Chief Executive of the NSPCC, added: “Knowing hospital beds are full of young people crying out for help should be a real wake up call to all those that care for the wellbeing of the younger generation.
“It is vital we confront the fact that an increasing number are struggling to deal with the pressures and demands of modern-day life.”
The findings reinforce the importance of the charity’s ‘Call For Help’ Christmas campaign, which aims to raise funds for services such as Childline so young people receive the support they desperately need.
Currently, the free and confidential helpline only manages to help three out of four children that seek help.
Anna Krala, service manager for Childline Manchester, said: “Our campaign ‘Call For Help’ that is running at the moment, is asking people to have a look at our website and see if they are able to donate some money.
“This money will go to help NSPCC and Childline to provide more resources, so during the times where the pressures are high, around Christmas, we can recruit more volunteers to man the communication lines.
“What we would like to do is be able to answer every call and that is what we are working towards.”
Children and young people can contact Childline for free support and advice 24 hours a day via telephone on 0800 1111 or online at www.childline.org.uk.
For more information visit the NSPCC website at: www.nspcc.org.uk