Study shows “self-harm common in teenagers”

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A study published in leading medical journal “The Lancet” has claimed that one in 12 people self-harm in their teenage years.

For most people, the study states, the problem will resolve before adulthood but for 10% it will continue into their adult lives.

The study looked at almost 2,000 adolescents in Australia, repeatedly surveying them over a period of 15 years.

Researchers found that anxiety, depression, heavy alcohol use, cigarette smoking and cannabis use were all associated with self-harm. It stated that teenage girls are more likely to self-harm than boys and are at greater risk of continuing as young adults.

The study’s authors said as 90% of teenagers who self-harmed stopped before they reached adulthood, the research should offer some reassurance to families, schools and clinicians.

However Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of the mental health charity SANE, told the BBC: “The figures showing that 90% have stopped by the time they reach their twenties should not seduce us into thinking that self harm is just a phase that young people will grow out of.

“Our research shows that counter to common perception, people self-harm and continue to self-harm at times throughout their lives to protect themselves from attempting suicide and their families and friends from experiencing their mental pain.”

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