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Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Youth charities reveal bullying and loneliness as major self-harming triggers

This news post is about 10 years old

A recent poll, conducted for self-harm awareness day, reveals that one in fouryoung people who self-harm started due to bullying, with 61 per cent sayingthey do it because they feel alone.

Over 60% of young people who deliberately hurt themselves do so because they feel alone, a survey marking self-harm awareness day has revealed.

Almost 4000 under-25s took the poll organised by Childline,, YouthNet and YoungMinds, with one in four adding they started self-harming due to bullying.

The charities hope by releasing their findings more people will be able to recognise the initial signs and be able to support young people to know that they are not alone.

Many young people told us that they wanted people to know their self-harm wasn’t about attention seeking.

As part of the survey, respondents were also asked to tell their distraction or coping techniques, such as listening to music, and share their own messages to raise awareness of the issue.

These will be shared for a week after the 1 March awareness day on the websites and social media sites of the charities involved.

Rachel Welch from said: “Really tackling the issue of self-harm among young people means not only recognising the situations and feelings that lead them to take this path but also ensuring that those in a position to help them recognise the early signs of self-harm and how best to support them.

“Many young people told us that they wanted people to know their self-harm wasn’t about attention seeking. It’s so sad that young people are facing this stigma and being labelled rather than getting the support they need.”

Speaking ahead of awareness day Childline expressed its concern at the rise in number of calls and messages it receives about self-harm.

During 2012-13, a total of 7,550 children and young people from across the UK spoke to counsellors at the charity’s bases in Scotland – either on the phone or online – an increase of 50% from 2011-12.

Elaine Chalmers, area manager of Childline said she is particularly concerned about a new development which sees young people sharing images of self-harm on social media sites.

“There are many reasons why young people might self-harm,” she added.

“It’s a way of dealing with overwhelming feelings that can feel very difficult to cope with and young people tell us that physical pain helps them cope with the emotional pain.

“I would urge young people seeking advice or support on this issue to contact Childline, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

Most frequent reasons given for young people hurting themselves for the first timeFeelings that led to young people hurting themselves for the first time
Bullying (25%) Alone (61%)
Family relationships (17%) Numb/empty (46%)
Pressure to do well at school (14%) Sad (41%)
Emotional abuse (11%) Angry (36%)
Friendships (11%) Out of control (34%)