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Self-harm among young children in UK doubles in six years

From The Guardian

The rate of self-harm among young children in the UK has doubled over the last six years, according to a new analysis.

The number of children aged nine to 12 admitted to hospital having hurt themselves intentionally rose from 221 in 2013-14 to 508 in 2019-20, data analysed for BBC Radio 4’s File on 4 programme has found.

This means an average of 10 hospital admissions every week. With population changes taken into account, the rate has doubled over the past six years.

The finding comes as experts say the Covid-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on young people’s mental health. A Guardian investigation in October found a rise in the number of children with sleep problems and eating disorders, and long waits for treatment.

Keith Hawton, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Oxford, told File on 4 the data on self-harm was “in keeping with what we’re finding from our research databases. It’s almost as though the problem is spreading down the age range somewhat.

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