How common is self harm?

The United Kingdom (UK) has one of the highest rates of self-harm in Europe, at around 400 people per 100,000.

It is estimated that about 1 in 10 young people will harm themselves at some point. HOWEVER self-harm can take place at any age and there are significant proportions of adults who use this coping mechanism.

Research tends to under-estimate the numbers of people involved in self-harming behaviours as surveys are usually based on people who go to hospital or to their G.P. after harming themselves. However, many people do not seek help after self-harm and some types of self-harm may be more easily hidden than others, i.e., cuts can be covered by long sleeves and so less likely to be noticed.

A study of 4000 self-harming adults in hospital highlighted that 80% had taken an overdose and around 15% had cut themselves. It is likely that cutting is a more common way of self-harming than taking an overdose.

Rates of self-harm in all age groups, appears to be on the increase.