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Self-harm in young people: Prevalence, associated factors and help-seeking in school-going adolescents.

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Adolescent self-harm is recognised as a serious public health problem
however there is little reliable comparative data on its prevalence or characteristics or on
the extent of help-seeking for self-harm. The aims of this study were to determine the
prevalence and associated factors of adolescent self-harm in an urban region in Ireland and
to investigate help-seeking behaviours for self-harm. This was a cross-sectional study of
856 school-going adolescents employing an anonymous self-report questionnaire. A
lifetime history of self-harm was reported by 12.1% of adolescents. Factors independently
associated with self-harm included exposure to self-harm of a friend/family member.
Professional help-seeking was uncommon prior to (9%) and after (12%) self-harm.
Furthermore, only 6.9% of adolescents presented to hospital as a result of their last selfharm
act. These findings indicate that self-harm is common in adolescents however seeking
professional help is not a common phenomenon and those who present to hospital represent
the ‘tip of the iceberg’ of adolescent self-harm. Identifying the prevalence of self-harm and
associated factors in addition to help-seeking behaviours in young people is important to
determine the preventative programmes to target ‘at-risk’ groups. Mental health nurses
have an important and increasing role to play in such school-based initiatives.

Suggested citation:

. () Self-harm in young people: Prevalence, associated factors and help-seeking in school-going adolescents. [Online]. Available from: http://publichealthwell.ie/node/908308 [Accessed: 26th June 2019].

  

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