Comment from Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of the mental health charity SANE, on new research showing the number of cases of children self harming has risen by 50%:
"SANE's own experience shows disturbingly increasing numbers of people self harming, amounting almost to an epidemic.
"Our own study of 1000 people who self harm, which included children as young as 12, revealed that far from being a way of seeking attention it was the only release they could find to preserve themselves from intolerable mental pain and protect those close to them. Indeed, many reported it was a way of preventing themselves from taking their own life.
"Secret and untreated, self harm can continue into adult life and with it a sense of guilt, self-blame and isolation. The most important breakthroughs that people reported to us were in trusting family and friends and their behaviour being accepted and understood.
"Rather than just focussing on the influence of internet sites, SANE calls for rigorous follow-up for those attending accident and emergency departments who have self harmed and psychological help offered for the underlying causes, such as depression."
For more information, please contact the SANE media department on 020-7422 5556
A study of 170,000 people attending accident and emergency departments following self harm, found that only 80,000 were followed up.