Social media and the pressures of school work are blamed for a rise in self-harm in girls—but are we ignoring one of the biggest contributing factors: poverty?by Sian Norris / August 10, 2018 / Leave a comment
Earlier this week, the NHS revealed a worrying rise in reports of self-harm among teenage girls in the UK.
Using a reliable national database that tracked trends in reports of self-harm from 2001, they discovered a 68 per cent rise in rates of self-harm in 13-16 year old girls since 2011.
The NHS explained how the database didn’t reveal the causes behind this rise, and stated:
“It could be due to greater awareness of the help available, more teenagers are willing to report self-harming. But we cannot ignore the possibility that many cases of self-harm may go unreported.”
Following the NHS’s study, charities have warned that social media use and the pressure of school work is fuelling this rise—although they correctly state that self-harm cannot be attributed to one single cause.
The link with poverty
However, there is one contributing factor to rates of self-harm in young people that rarely gets acknowledged: poverty and deprivation.
According to a BMJ study published in 2017, “among children and adolescents registered with practices in the most deprived areas, the annual incidence [of self harm] per 10 000 was increased … compared with those consulting practices in the least deprived areas.”