This issue is important to me because every day I see so many teens suffering from depression and resorting to self-harm. I see stories of people ending their lives in the news. I believe there is some way we can help this wide-spread issue, and that no person’s life should be so horrible, that they feel their only choice is to end it.
How self-harm is affecting the UK
A UK survey of GPs says that self-harm by girls from 13-16 has increased by 68% in the last 3 years. However, you can never be entirely certain about the percentage of how many teenagers self-harm because often they don’t tell anyone and suffer in silence, until one day, they are just another face in the newspaper among a long list of teens that have lost their lives to suicide.
What is the cause of self-harm and suicide?
The same study mentioned above found that girls from 10-19 are three times more likely to self-harm than boys of the same age. Young girls are constantly being exposed to unrealistic body images in magazines, social media, television etcetera, which means there is always an expectation many feel they have to live up to. As well as that, the pressure of exams builds up as you move further up secondary school. You also begin to worry more about relationships and ‘fitting in’. Bullying is a common issue among all teenagers, and can often lead to depression. All of these pressures and expectations caused by society are too much for some to deal with... and frankly, they shouldn’t have to deal with as much.
Hearing from survivors of self-harm and how they beat it
4 in 100 people in the UK are likely to self-harm, there are some who are fortunate and some who are not. We hear from the fortunate ones, who are luckily still with us today and overcame the battle against depression, abuse, and self-harm. One story is from an unnamed woman in Nottinghamshire. She says: "Many people think self-harm is just an attention seeking thing or a cry for help. In some situations it probably is, but many sufferers have very real reasons for doing it."
This shows the stigma people have towards the idea of self-harm and how she wasn’t taken seriously during one of the hardest times in her life. We cannot judge those going through something like this as often you have no idea what the victim is actually going through, and how hard it is.
Please don’t ignore this – they need your help
Self-harm is such a massive issue around the UK and even the world. No person should have to go through this alone. If you know anyone going through depression or anxiety or if you know anyone who is suicidal or self-harms, then help them by talking to them. They would do the same for you. If you are reading this and you can relate to some of these stories remember you are special and an amazing, strong person. Help is available online at the bottom of this article, but consider talking to your family or your GP too.