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Self-harm among teenagers is reaching epidemic levels in the UK. Almost every report shows that it is on the rise. However, it is not just teenage girls or goths who self-harm, as the stereotype suggests. It is a response to overwhelming pain that people use across their lifespan, and across cultures.

When people talk about self-harm, they tend to be referring to things such as cutting one’s body, self-poisoning, pulling out one’s hair or punching walls and doors. These are socially unacceptable forms of self-harm in comparison to more socially sanctioned forms such as binge drinking, extreme dieting or serially engaging in toxic relationships.

Related: Have I got depression? You asked Google – here’s the answer | Jay Watts

People who present at A&E having self-harmed are between 50 and 100 times more likely to die by suicide in the following year.

Related: Self-harm is not just attention-seeking: it’s time to talk openly about the issue

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