Surge in child self harm and mental illness in Southern Trust area

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There has been a surge in the number of children admitted to A&E for instances of intentional self-harm in the Southern Trust area, which includes the Dungannon District.

The number of local patients under 18, who were identified as having self harmed has risen by 30 percent in one year, with 199 admissions in 2014 and 258 admissions in 2015.

The dramatic rise has been mirrored across Northern Ireland and the UK. The government says it has asked experts to examine how to tackle self-harming and related issues in schools.

Dr Max Davie, a spokesperson for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), says feeling pressured at school, or by friends, family and the media can all play their part in why young people self-harm.

“We have to remember that people self-harm because they’re in psychological distress that’s so severe that they prefer physical harm or physical pain to their psychological state.”

Those at risk of self-harm are advised to contact their GP or a family member or friend as a first step. Alternatively they can contact the Lifeline Helpline on 0808 808 8000.