Lincolnshire children get faster treatment for problems related to self-harming
More Lincolnshire children than ever before are receiving treatment for problems related to self harming.
Mental health nurses in the county are seeing an average of one new patient every day.âThese include children who are thinking about injuring themselves as well as those who have done so already.
Nurses are seeing patients who have cut themselves as well as children who have swallowed objects or drunk bleach. Previously, they saw just four patients a month who had seriously injured themselves by self harming.
But a change in how patients are cared for means medical intervention is happening sooner.
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Self harm nurse practitioner at Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation Trust, Kerrie Garnham, said: "We now assess young people with minor self harm injuries and those with suicidal thoughts.
"Assessments used to be done with those who had severely self harmed and who needed admitting to hospital to recover.
"But we are now aware of more cases because of the change in our assessment criteria and we can help more people sooner.
"A self harm episode is usually related to a major incident in a young person's life that they are unable to deal with.
"Peer pressure such as bullying often plays a part.
"Social networks also have a detrimental effect with young people often being singled out over the internet."Nurses say that self-harming is a way young people release built up emotions.
"Young people often find it difficult to understand their emotions and use self harm as a means to let off steam," added Ms Garnham.
"Teenage years are a difficult time for many young people with immense pressure in many areas such as doing well in school and having to look right.
"Research suggests that self harm can become an addiction, it can be very difficult for a young person to give up especially if it feels like it is working in the short term.
"There has always been a higher proportion of girls who are admitted to the wards for self harm and overdoses – however, the number of boys appears to have risen too.
"Teenage years are a difficult time for many young people with immense pressure in many areas."
One parent, who did not want to be named, discovered her daughter was self harming when she received a call from her school.
"My daughter wore jeans to school and they called me to tell me about that.
"She had told them that her tights were rubbing against her cuts so had to wear jeans.
"That was the first I knew about it.
"She has told me there are at least 12 in her year that are doing it. Some of them even egg each other on and say they aren't doing it properly or deep enough and they are chicken scratches."