Youth charities launch campaign to challenge misconceptions about self-harming

CHILDLINE, YouthNet (the charity behind TheSite.org), Selfharm.co.uk and YoungMinds are launching a myth busting campaign to mark Self-Harm Awareness Day. The day is supported by X-Factor and N-Dubz star Tulisa.

It’s estimated that one in 12 young people in the UK have self-harmed at some point in their lives. And the latest figures show that in the last two years alone ChildLine saw an increase in counselling sessions of 167 per cent on the issue. Last year (1st April 2011 to 31st March 2012) ChildLine counsellors in Northern Ireland (Belfast and Foyle bases) carried out 1187 counselling sessions with children and young people via telephone, online chat and email where their main concern was self-harm.

One young person who contacted ChildLine in Belfast said, “I’ve been regularly self-harming recently. I’m struggling to cope with my depression. I feel so confused about a lot of different things going on my life. I want to stop cutting myself but I don’t know who to talk to about how I feel.”*

There is also evidence that self-harming is affecting children at a younger age than ever before. In 2011/12, ChildLine reported that self-harm was in the top five concerns for 14 year-olds for the first time. However, in the first six months of 2012/13, this age dropped further appearing for the first time in the top five concerns for 13 year-olds.

Tulisa said: “It’s incredibly sad that so many young people are using self-harm as a way to deal with their issues and that many are suffering in silence. I’ve experienced difficult periods in the past but having somebody to talk to makes the world of difference. I know many young people don’t have this and I hope they can be made aware that they can contact the charities supporting this campaign to give them the care, help and support they need. That’s why I’m supporting Self-Harm Awareness Day and I urge everyone to do the same.”