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Teenagers whose friends self-harm are more likely to self-harm

Drug use by friends, low self-esteem, and higher levels of anxiety are all associated with self-harm in teenagers.

Image: Unhappy teenage girl via Shutterstock

HAVING A FRIEND who has self-harmed is one of the most common factors in cases of self-harm among teenagers in Ireland, research has found.

Drug use by friends is another common factor, while among girls, low self-esteem, problems keeping friends and conflicts with parents are also associated with self-harm.

Having a family member who had engaged in self-harm, and forced sexual activity are also key factors for girls.

Self-harm among boys is significantly increased among teenagers with higher levels of anxiety and impulsivity, problems with schoolwork, and having experienced bullying at school.

For teenage boys who had been bullied, other risk factors which increased the risk of self-harm were worries about sexual orientation, physical abuse, and problems with school work.

The factors were revealed in a study carried out in Ireland and six other countries on self-harm in 15-17 year olds, which looked at more than 3,000 young people in Ireland.

Fine Gael Deputy Bernard Durkan received the figures after asking the HSE for more information about the reasons why young people self-harm.

A total of 960 children aged 10 to 17 presented to hospital last year with self-harm injuries, an increase on previous years.

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The number of girls who self-harmed was more than double that of boys, according to the National Registry of Deliberate Self-Harm. An overdose of medication made up almost two-thirds of all self-harm cases.

Cutting and attempted hanging were the next most comment methods of self-harm.

Read: Children hospitalised after self-harming is on the increase >

Read: Samaritans’ SMS service reveals high levels of self-harm >

Read: More than 48,000 people treated in hospital after deliberate self-harm >

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