This is a staggering and very depressing statistic. First of all let’s look at the definition of self-harming.

When someone intentionally damages or injures their body. This can take the form of cutting, burning, hitting, poisoning, alcohol abuse and deliberate starvation.

In the YouGov survey, and when asked, “have you ever self-harmed” 45% of women (aged between 16-25) said yes (with men it was 27%).

Sarah Brennan, chief executive of the charity YoungMinds said, “The reasons behind self-harm can be complex, but we know that young people face a huge range of pressures, including school stress, bullying, worries about body image, the pressures of social media and a lack of access to help if they’re struggling to cope.”

Sarah Brennan

She added, “Young people may intentionally hurt themselves to reduce tension, to manage emotional distress, to punish themselves, to express difficult emotions or to distract themselves from those emotions. While this poll does not explain in what way young people harmed themselves or whether they did it once or regularly, it is clear that this is a huge problem in our society that needs to be addressed.”

Louise Theodosiou, of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said the study was “in line with what we’re seeing with increasing presentations [of self-harm] and in keeping with the general feeling that more young people are under strain.”

Dr. Theodosiou said that warning signs such as losing appetite, withdrawing from social life should lead to action, even if it was only going for a walk or cooking something, “Physical activities to get you out of your head can be very helpful,” she said.