Shocking figures show HUGE leap in self-harm by children as young as FIVE

Provisional figures released by NHS Digital show there were 1,078 hospital attendances for self-harm among children aged 12 and under last year.

The figures show three cases in which children aged five had to be admitted after hanging themselves, including a fiveyear-old girl this year and two five-year-old boys last year. 

Child mental health specialists say increasing numbers of children are struggling with feelings of stress, depression and anxiety due to exam pressure, social media and low self-esteem.

Tom Madders, campaign director at mental health charity YoungMinds, said the rise in self harm among young children was “very worrying”. 

He said: “Far too many children don’t get help when they first need it, and problems can get worse during the long wait for specialist treatment.

“As a society, we also need to do far more to prevent mental health problems from developing in the first place. To start with, we need to rebalance our education system, so that all schools have the resources and recognition they need to focus on children’s well-being.”

The figures show the largest increases among young girls.

Between 2010 and 2011 there were 165 hospital admissions among boys for self harm and 379 among girls. 

Last year this rose to 268 and 809. In one post on a forum for youngsters who self-harm a 12-year-old wrote: “Divorced parents, closest family member dead, bullied, different, hate life, friends don’t understand, anger issues, need to stop self harming, been going for a year, attempted suicide, cutting right now, want to die, suicidal thoughts, got a boyfriend, wants me to stop, I’ve stopped eating as much, thought about drugs, and last of all completely addicted to self harming.”


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