Three teenagers an hour 'try to harm themselves'

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The Independent Online

Every hour three young people in Britain are likely to harm themselves by cutting, burning, bruising or taking an overdose, a Samaritans report on coping with pressure reveals.

Every hour three young people in Britain are likely to harm themselves by cutting, burning, bruising or taking an overdose, a Samaritans report on coping with pressure reveals.

Youth Matters - A Cry for Help, published yesterday, suggests that many people aged under 25 hurt themselves because they do not know how to deal with their problems.

The report concludes that almost half of the population knows someone who has injured themselves, and that the number who inflict "self-harm" has increased at a faster rate among males.

"Self-harm" is a term used by psychiatrists to describe a coping strategy for expressing pain, and ranges from cutting oneself to attempting suicide.

Simon Armson, the chief executive of the Samaritans, said: "The number of young men under 25 who self-harm has nearly doubled in the last 20 years.

"Yet research shows that while almost half of the population knows someone who has self-harmed, a large proportion have little understanding of the scale of the problem or how to help."

The findings are based on work by the psychiatry department at Warneford Hospital in Oxford and an NOP poll of 722 adults, aged 16 and above.

The research shows that more than 25 per cent of people under 25 do not know how to respond to a friend who is suicidal, particularly male friends.

Four times the number of people said they would "laugh and think they were joking" if their male friends said they were feeling suicidal than if their female friends said the same thing, the research says.

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