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Self-harm problem at Northern schools

JODIE STEPHENS | The Examiner | Aug. 30, 2013, Midnight

A LAUNCESTON primary school has asked Cornerstone Youth Services to speak to pupils believed to be self-harming, in what the organisation says is part a growing problem in Northern Tasmania.

A LAUNCESTON primary school has asked Cornerstone Youth Services to speak to pupils believed to be self-harming, in what the organisation says is part a growing problem in Northern Tasmania.

Cate Sinclair, chief executive of Cornerstone, the lead agency of Headspace Launceston, said there had been a definite increase in young people seeking help for intentional self-harm.

"It's increasing, we're seeing lots of self-harm in boys, and it's getting younger," Ms Sinclair said.

"We just had a letter, a request from a Launceston primary school, asking us to come out to the school and have a talk to them about consulting with young people ... because this school's really concerned that self-harm is popping up as an issue for the first time.

"This is a grade4 to grade5 class, so it's pretty concerning if they're talking about self- harm."

Ms Sinclair's comments come after a report released last week revealed a marked increase in the hospitalisation of young women who had intentionally self-harmed.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report revealed there had been 26,000 hospitalisations for intentional self-harm across Australia in 2010-11.

Across the entire population, cases of intentional self-harm increased 1per cent each year since 1999.

In that time cases more than doubled among women aged 15-24, with intentional poisonings rising 56.35per cent and cases of intentional self-harm by sharp object increasing by 92.55per cent.

Ms Sinclair said the rise could partly be attributed to a wider awareness of mental health issues, and a growing willingness to seek help.

But she said young people were also struggling to cope with great pressure to look better or prettier, be skinnier, be happier and achieve more.

If you need help or counselling, contact Kids Helpline on 1800551800, Lifeline on 131114, MensLine Australia on 1300789978, the StandBy Response Service 24-hour number on 0408133884, or beyondblue on 1300224636. For more information, or advice on how to help a friend, visit www.headspace.org.au, reachout.com.au or www.youthbeyondblue.com

Courtesy of The Examiner

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