A United Kingdom study has revealed that between 2011 and 2014, reports of self-harm among girls in Britain aged 13 to 16 rose by 68%. "We need to take [this rise] seriously and do something about it", he said, pointing out that only half of people who present to health services as a result of self-harm get a proper assessment from a mental health professional.
A new report into mental health and self-harm has revealed that teenage girls in the United Kingdom are becoming increasingly likely to self-harm.
Researchers from the University of Manchester had examined and published a study on Wednesday in British Medical Journal. Of these, 73% were girls.
There has been a sharp rise in self-harm reported in general practices for girls aged between 13-16 years from 2011 to 2014, compared with boys of the same age. It rose by 68 percent in girls aged 13 to 16 from 45.9 per 10,000 in 2011 to 77.0 per 10,000 in 2014.
They found that children living in the poorest areas were 23% less likely to be referred in the year after their self-harm episode when compared with youngsters in the least deprived regions. The investigators compared those children to more than 170,000 kids who didn't self-harm, matched for age and gender.
A total of 43 deaths occurred among young people in the self-harm cohort and 176 in the comparison group.
While the study does not look at the underlying reasons why self-harm rates are higher in teen girls, the study authors say it may have something to do with common mental health issues including depression and anxiety, as well as biological factors such as puberty and onset of sexual activity.
"Of course such technologies can be helpful and facilitate access to care but there is also a suggestion that extreme "connectedness" could have detrimental effects", the researchers write.
The report's authors said this suggested "less severe cases or possible reflection of the challenges in accessing specialist services in a timely manner".
"The short answer is that we don't know the reason for the apparent rapid increase in self-harm in girls". It could reflect better awareness or recording of self-harm in primary care.
A spokesman for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children said: 'Last year we held more than 15,000 counselling sessions about self-harm, and many young people who talked about suicidal feelings also mentioned self-harm.
He added: 'These results do emphasise the opportunity for earlier intervention in primary care to reduce suicide risk'. It is the strongest risk factor for subsequent suicide, with suicide being the second most common cause of death before reaching the age of 25 worldwide.
"Self harm can often be an expression of a deeper problem which is why early intervention services to support these children are vital".
'Without this, the consequences really can be a matter of life or death'.