One in three teenagers self harm or have thought about doing so

Research shows 14% of teenagers in Scotland have self harmed and a further 14% have thought seriously about doing so.

Photograph: iStockphoto/Chris Price
Photograph: iStockphoto/Chris Price

The research is the first ever study to examine the prevalence of adolescent self-harm in Scotland.

The results were similar to England, despite the suicide rate in Scotland being twice that of England.

A total of 2,008 pupils aged 15 to 16 years from Glasgow and Stirling completed an anonymous questionnaire.

Self-harm was recorded if they answered ‘yes’ to the question: ‘Have you ever deliberately taken an overdose (eg. pills or other medication) or tried to harm yourself in some other way (such as cut yourself)?’

Self-harm was reported by 13.8% of the teenagers. The majority (71%) of those who had self-harmed had done so in the past 12 months, and girls were 3.4 times more likely to have self-harmed than boys.

A further 14.4% said that they had thought seriously about self-harming but had not done so.

The most common motive was ‘to get relief from a terrible state of mind’.

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