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Friday, 19 May, 2000, 00:34 GMT 01:34 UK
Teenage self-harm 'soars'
Increasing numbers of yong men harm themselves
The number of young men who harm themselves has nearly doubled in the past 10 years, according to research.

The report, by The Samaritans, also found that three teenagers self-harm every hour.

People who self-harm, cut or burn themselves or take an overdose are often doing it as a way of coping with difficult emotions.

Some may feel suicidal and wish to die, for others hurting themselves is a method of expressing their pain.

The Samaritans are calling for more information in hospitals and schools to tackle the stigma that leads young people to hurt themselves instead of seeking help.

The report, Youth Matters - A Cry for Help, found:

  • 43% know someone who has self-harmed
  • more than one in four people under 25 years have no idea what to say to a suicidal friend
  • 41% of people believe self-harm is selfish and 55% that it is stupid
  • 25% of people believe only one in 1000 people have suicidal thoughts in any week, whereas the real figure is one in 100
Tough for men

The report also uncovered the problems faced by young men who are depressed.

It found that one in five young people would be embarrassed if a male friend admitted to feeling suicidal - twice as many as would be embarrassed if the confession came from a female.

Self-harm statistics
Self-harmers are 100 times more likely to commit suicide than the general population
In 1998 about 160,000 were admitted to A&E with self-harm injuries in England and Wales
Of those about 24,000 were teenagers

Four times as many young people would laugh and think they were joking if a male friend admitted to feeling suicidal rather than a female friend.

Over three quarters of the population believe men do not get the same kind of emotional support as women.

Two thirds of men believe women have gained influence while men have lost it.

Simon Armson, chief executive of The Samaritans, said: "Research shows that while almost half the population know someone who has self-harmed, a large proportion have little understanding of the scale of the problem or how to help."

Difficult emotions

Research shows that approximately 65% of people who self-harm are experiencing relationship difficulties.

Among men who self-harm almost half also misuse alcohol and approximately 6% of women who self-harm also have an eating disorder.

Samaritan projects have been set up across the UK and Republic of Ireland with local schools and hospitals to provide support for those who self-harm and are at high risk of suicide.

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13 Oct 99 | Medical notes
01 Nov 99 | Health
Depression defeating the medics
19 Oct 99 | Health
Lad culture blamed for suicides
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