Young boys self-harm cases rise by 30%, NHS figures show
Young males being admitted to hospital in England for self-harm is at a five-year high, according to figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).
Cases of ten to 14-year-olds have risen 30 per cent from 454 in 2009-2010 to 659 in 2013-2014. Indeed, admissions have consistently increased during this period.
Cases have also increased dramatically among girls of the same age, from 3,090 in 2009-2010 to 5,955 in 2013-2014.
Often perceived as a female behavioural problem, the figures indicate that self-harm is on the increase in males and more needs to be done to help young boys despite its stigma as a female issue.
The HSCIC figures relate to the number of admissions, rather than individual patients, and could include individuals who have gone to hospital many times.
Lucy Russell, director of campaigns at YoungMinds charity, told the Today programme on BBC Radio 4: “Calls to our parents’ helpline have gone through the roof over the last few years.”
She added: “What we hear from various bits of research all across the country is that self-harm is definitely increasing and it’s increasing in boys as much as it is with girls.”
Problems such as bullying, family breakdowns, body issues and academic and sexual pressure are often potential triggers for self-harm amongst young people.
Ms Russell said it was important for society to understand that these issues affect boys too.
Discussing the issue with the BBC, Care Minister Norman Lamb said the government was putting £30 million into mental health support in hospitals.
However, campaigners believe many young people are “suffering in silence” and experts are calling for a cultural shift in society to ensure teachers and parents recognise and approach the topic of self-harm amongst young boys.
Professor Keith Hawton, from the Centre for Suicide Research at Oxford University, urges that schools must do more to prevent self-harm through psychological well-being programmes.
A World Health Organization report due to be released next year is expected to show that the number of teenagers self-harming in England, has tripled over the last decade.
Self-harm can include cutting and burning while hitting and punching are also manifestations in males.