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mental health

A quarter of 14-year-old girls in the UK are self harming

This new report shows figures have almost doubled over the last 20 years

There's yet more evidence of what we already knew: UK teens are facing a mental health crisis. A survey reveals that a quarter of girls aged 14 have self harmed.

Children’s Society analysed the answers of 11,000 teens, having asked them if they had deliberately hurt themselves in the last year. Girls were far more vulnerable than boys in this area – the figure for boys was one in 10.

NHS figures show that over the last two decades the number of girls under the age of 18 being treated for self-harm related injuries has almost doubled. Over 13,400 such cases occurred in the last year alone.

According to the Children’s Society report, most of the respondents’ concerns related to school or their appearance. Around 24 per cent had heard jokes or comments relating to people’s bodies or looks all the time, and just over a fifth of secondary schoolers said the same of their peers sexual activity. This has led experts to believe that gender expectations may go some way to explaining why this issue has impacted girls disproportionately.

Matthew Reed, the chief executive of the Children’s Society said: “It is deeply worrying that so many children are unhappy to the extent that they are self-harming. Worries about how they look are a big issue, especially for girls.”

For more on the teen mental health crisis, read our report about the broken system here.