There has been a big rise in reports of girls self-harming – with experts suggesting digital media may be to blame, Sky News reports.
A UK study has revealed that between 2011 and 2014, reports of self-harm among girls in Britain aged 13 to 16 rose by 68%.
The figures come from data collated by researchers from the University of Manchester.
They looked at records from 674 general practices, focusing on the number of 10 to 19-year-olds who had self-harmed.
Of all those who had self-harmed, almost three quarters (73%) were girls.
For girls aged 13 to 16 the rate rose from 45.9 cases per 10,000 individuals in 2011 to 77.0 cases per 10,000 in 2014.
The researchers said one of the reasons for such a high rate could be exposure to digital media.
They said while such technology can be ‘helpful and facilitate access to care…there is also a suggestion that extreme ‘connectedness’ could have detrimental effects’.
Nav Kapur, professor of psychiatry and population health at the University of Manchester, said: “These results do emphasise the opportunity for earlier intervention in primary care to reduce suicide risk.
“It’s very important that young people, parents and carers aren’t unduly alarmed by these findings.
“We know that for many young people things get better and they no longer hurt themselves as adults.
“But of course we must take self-harm seriously; it’s important to understand its underlying causes.
“As a society, we also need to do more to prevent mental health problems from developing in the first place.”
The study is published in the British Medical Journal.
Social media blamed for rise in self-harm (Sky News)