Self-Injury Rate Sees Scary Spike in Teen Victims

Emergency rooms are seeing more and more teen victims of self-injury.

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It’s difficult to comprehend the reasons why anyone would choose to self-harm, but the tragedy becomes even more astonishing when kids and teens become victims of themselves. Though heartbreaking, self-injury is becoming increasingly prevalent among adolescents, suggests a recently report published in the journal Pediatrics.

In the three years from 2009-2012, over 3,600 kids and teens ages 10-18 were admitted to the emergency room due to self-inflicted trauma, including suicide attempts.

Boys were found less likely to engage in self-harm than girls, but when boys did self-harm, their methods were far more dangerous—serious enough to risk death. Of teens who self-injured, 34 percent of boys did so by use of firearms, while just under 50 percent of girls engaged in cutting and piercing. 

The self-injury rate spiked from 1.1 percent in 2009 to 1.6 percent in 2012, and only about 5 percent of teens engaging in this behavior are diagnosed with a mental disorder. That’s thousands of teens hurting themselves on purpose.

If you suspect that your child may be contemplating self-harm or suicide, do not keep it to yourself. Talk with your child, and seek immediate professional help.

Regardless of risk factor, every teen should know about this texting hotline, where a trained crisis counselor is available around the clock to help those struggling with self-destructive thoughts, as well as the Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK).