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More teens treated after self-harming in Bucks

Teenage Girl

Published by Local Democracy Reporter Jasmine Rapson at 1:41pm 5th February 2019.

The number of young people from Buckinghamshire who were treated in hospital after self-harming increased dramatically over five years, figures reveal.

The latest figures published by Public Health England show 163 young people aged 10 to 24 were admitted to hospital after self-harming in 2011/12 compared to 294 in 2016/17.

However, the shocking statistics show there has been a decrease in more recent years, as there were 340 admissions in 2015/16 compared with 294 in 2016/17.

Tom Madders, director of campaigns at mental health charity, Young Minds, said some young people today “face a wide range of pressures” such as abuse or neglect, which could lead to mental illness.

He added more action needs to be taken to ensure children and young people with mental illnesses are getting the early support they need.

Mr Madders said:

“The reasons behind self-harm can be complex, but we know from our research that young people today face a wide range of pressures.

“Difficult experiences in childhood, like growing up in poverty or experiencing abuse or neglect, can have a huge impact on mental health, but there are also new pressures that have emerged in recent years.

“The education system now places a greater emphasis than ever on exam results, while the rise of social media can make problems like bullying or body image issues more intense than they were in the past.

“At the moment, it’s far too difficult for children and young people to get mental health support before they reach crisis point.

“The government has promised extra investment, which must make a real difference to front line services – but we also need to see action so children and young people can get early support in their communities.”

A spokesman for Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust – which runs Bucks’ mental health services – said self-harm admission rates in the county are actually below the national average, however steps are being taken to improve treatment offered to young people.

A statement release by the trust said:

“Self-harm among young people is highly concerning and the statistics quoted refer to hospital admissions of all types.

“In reality, many of these are likely to be to acute hospitals which we do not operate. It is welcome news that there has been some decline in admissions recently and we know that overall Bucks reports self-harm admission rates below the national average yearly since 2011.

“Where mental health is a factor, we aim to offer the most appropriate care, whether that is through hospital admission, community teams, talking therapies or counselling services.”

Last year Bucks Clinical Commissioning Group announced young people in Bucks will benefit from free online counselling following a huge national increase in mental health conditions among children and teenagers.

Digital mental health service Xen Zone has been commissioned to provide its online emotional wellbeing and counselling programme, Kooth, to young people in the county.

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