Who on earth would want to deliberately harm themselves, you may be thinking? According to recent, rather startling NHS figures, quite a few. More worryingly, these figures relate to young people between 11 and 19, mostly girls.
In 2006/7 nearly 16,000 'children' were admitted to hospital due to self-harm - a rise of a third in five years. This, of course, doesn't account for the number who self harm but do not get admitted to hospital.
Why do young people feel so distressed with life that causing harm to themselves seems the only way to draw attention?
Research commissioned by Affinity Healthcare suggests such causes as depression, anger, stress or relationship problems. Most self-harm through cutting, burning or punching themselves.
Surely this is a cry for help? Young people are often left to 'get on with life' whilst the world spins ever faster. Expectations and ambitions rise as does the demand to 'grow up' at an earlier age. As the pressure mounts, so too does the inability to cope with it.
For some it may be the beginning of a life-long illness - unless help is given to halt the progression.
In my daily practice I see many young people, with a wide range of difficulties, who come to me for counselling and hypnotherapy. This is nothing shameful or frightening but it is successful in helping to re-focus a young person's thoughts, channel energy in a positive direction and change negative patterns of thought.
Call Richard Reid, in confidence, about self-harm on: 0870 446 4375 or e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Richard Reid BA (Hons) BACP, GHR, ISMA is a Senior Consultant at the private practice, Pinnacle Therapy, in London and Twickenham . He has many years experience as a Psychotherapist, Counsellor and Hypnotherapis, working for a number of large organizations, including BUPA and the NHS. He recently joined The Priory in Roehampton as a Psychotherapist dealing with eating disorders and trauma and has opened a private practice in Harley Street. Richard has appeared in a variety of magazines and broadcast on BBC radio several times, speaking about his service.
(Courtesy of SEJ Consultancy (UK) Ltd)