Self-harm reaches five year high in Wales

Self-harm reaches five year high in Wales

Figures have revealed the number of cases of self-harm among young people in Wales has hit a five year high…

According to Welsh government figures more than 1,500 patients between 10 and 19 were treated in hospitals between 2013 and 2014 for self-harm. Almost four times as many girls were treated than boys last year.

Self-harming is a growing concern. Mental health charities are now calling for schools to teach young people emotional resilience to prevent the figures from growing higher.

In June, the Welsh government is set to publish an action plan aimed at tackling the issue. It will be its second in six years.

Swansea University’s Dr Ann John, who is leading the plan, said it was important to reduce the stigma attached to self-harm and said the strategy focused on this.

“The first strategic objective is about raising awareness. It’s about training those people who are priority care providers who first come into contact with people suffering with these issues.”

Recommendations within the plan include developing a counselling service within schools to include Year 6 students, as well as combating bullying.

The figures showed more than 300 boys were treated for self-harm, but it is thought this figure could be higher as many think boys are less likely to seek help. Others have argued girls find it harder to express anger, which makes them more prone to developing a problem with self-harm.

It was recently recommended in an education review that health and wellbeing should be put at the centre of the Welsh curriculum. This sentiment was one shared by Katie Dalton, of mental health charity Gofal.

She said: “Pupils need to know that there are support systems out there and that it is alright to feel unwell with their emotions and mental health and its OK to talk to people.”

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