‘Eye-opening’ work by self-harm project as almost third of students have considered hurting themselves

‘Eye-opening’ work by self-harm project as almost third of students have considered hurting themselves

Almost a third of young people surveyed in Lancashire said they have thought about hurting themselves, research carried out by Addaction’s Mind and Body project reveals.

81% of young people think that some, many or most young people their age self-harm. Girls are more likely to be depressed and worried.

The results demonstrate the crucial importance of Mind and Body (MAB), a scheme that supports young people who may be vulnerable to self-harm.

The early intervention programme is designed to promote mental health and emotional wellbeing amongst young people who may be coping with low self-esteem, anxiety, body image issues and low mood.

Young Addaction Lancashire is delivering Mind and Body at four schools across Lancaster, Morecambe, Fylde and Wyre this term.

Staff have spoken to 500 young people in Lancashire about their mental health since MAB began in September. Survey findings include:

  • 28% of young people said they have thought about harming themselves
  • Of these, 66% said they had felt depressed for six or more days in the last month
  • And 47% said they felt overwhelmed by worries either often or all the time
  • 3 in 10 young people have a close friend who has self-harmed

Through groups and one-to-one sessions, Mind and Body helps pupils aged between 14 and 18 to open up about their mental health and find positive ways to cope with emotional problems.

Hazel Cossey, pastoral manager at Baines School, said: “The identification of the students was surprising. It pulled out students who I would never have come across.  They would never have got support… but by doing that [MAB] survey, it identified those students.  It was a real eye-opener.  Students were under the radar and the majority of them would never have been identified.”

One young participant commented: “I am feeling happier within myself, sleeping and eating better. It has shown me there are better ways to cope other than using self harm. Life-changing.”

The Mind and Body programme was developed in consultation with young people and professionals from the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) and draws on the experience Addaction has gained from delivering the programme elsewhere in the UK.

The project is a pilot for North Lancashire and funded for one year by Health Education England’s Innovation Fund, aimed at supporting new ways of providing access to good quality mental health services for children and young people.