A charity supporting young people in Cambridgeshire has reflected on their numbers of self-harming service users, after a national report published last week stated that one in five 14-year-old girls deliberately hurt themselves.

The results of the Children’s Society’s survey of 11,000 children nationwide – released last Wednesday – found that 22 per cent of the girls and nine per cent of the boys said they had hurt themselves on purpose in the year prior to the questionnaire.

Centre 33 – which has bases in Cambridge, Ely, Wisbech, Huntingdon and Peterbrough – helps children and young people in the county aged 13 to 25 with mental health problems, including self-harming behaviours.

Services manager Helen Baker said: “Looking at the main points of the research, Centre 33 would agree – both from experience and analysis of our own data – that self-harm is high on the list of issues that young people seek support with.

“Since January 2018 Centre 33 has seen just under 800 young people coming through our triage and counselling services across the county. Of these, approximately 30 per cent sought support with self-harm issues.

“We can see that self-harm is prevalent among all genders, but those who identify as female or ‘other’ gender are slightly more likely to come to our services with self-harm than males.

“Centre 33 supports young people aged 13 to 25, so a broader age range than in the report.

“Generally, across the services we offer, we see a fairly even spread of numbers across those ages. Approximately 23 per cent of service users are aged 13 to 14, 36 per cent are 15 to 17, 23 per cent are 18 to 20, 14 per cent are aged 21 to 23 and six per cent are 24 to 26.

“For those who come to us presenting with self-harm, 18 per cent are 13 to 14, 39 per cent are 15 to 17 years old, 54 per cent are 18 to 20, 28 per cent are 21 to 23 and 23 per cent are 24 to 26.

“From this we can see that self-harm is prevalent across all age groups, but is still an issue for those in their late teens and early 20s. Therefore, the report highlighting 14 year olds is significant. It shows us that if help is not sought, then perhaps self-harming behaviours can continue well into later life.

“Our advice is to seek help, and speak up. For those who self-harm – exploring the ‘triggers’ and being able to deal with these is a first step.”
See centre33.org.uk for more information.