In the News: Depression and self-harm soar among private school pupils

Survey of head teachers finds problems including eating disorders are now at unprecedented levels, with social media and exam stress blamed

Teenage pupils at British private schools are experiencing unprecedented levels of depression, eating disorders and self-harm, according to head teachers, who say longstanding stresses have been amplified by increased pressure over exams and the ever-present anxieties of social media.

The warning comes from the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC), representing 175 leading private schools, which surveyed 65 head teachers on the subject.

The responses found that in some ways, schools appear to have become kinder places, with fewer cases of intolerance such as homophobic bullying, as well as less drug and alcohol misuse. However, they found greatly increased cyberbullying and online threats, and what the HMC called unprecedented levels of self-harm, depression and eating disorders among pupils.

Bernard Trafford, the headmaster of the Royal Grammar school in Newcastle upon Tyne and a former chair of HMC, told the Guardian that exam pressures played some role, with pupils facing higher grade requirements to get into top universities.

But a greater factor, he said, appeared to be the way social media made common teenage anxieties harder to escape, also exaggerating worries over such things as body image.

To read the full article, please visit: http://www.theguardian.com/education/2015/oct/04/depression-self-harm-eating-disorders-private-school-pupils-headteachers-poll

If you would like more information on the support we can provide, please email info@harmless.org.uk.

Harmless Self Harm Drop in this Wednesday

Harmless will be hosting their next young person drop in session on:

Wednesday  18th November  at 3:30pm – 4:30pm

for young people aged up to 21 years.

Our trained therapist will be on hand to offer information or advice about any concerns you may have about self harm.

If you have any concerns about someone such as a family member, friend or a colleague, then please feel free to join us, you will be assured of a friendly welcome.

All drop in sessions will take place at the Nottingham Community and Voluntary Service Building, & Mansfield Road, Nottingham, NG1 3FB (Opposite House of Fraser)

If you have trouble finding us please call on 0115 9348445 or email us at info@harmless.org.uk

Harmless Self Harm Drop-in next Wednesday

Harmless will be hosting their next young person drop in session on:

Wednesday  18th November  at 3:30pm – 4:30pm

for young people aged up to 21 years.

Our trained therapist will be on hand to offer information or advice about any concerns you may have about self harm.

If you have any concerns about someone such as a family member, friend or a colleague, then please feel free to join us, you will be assured of a friendly welcome.

All drop in sessions will take place at the Nottingham Community and Voluntary Service Building, & Mansfield Road, Nottingham, NG1 3FB (Opposite House of Fraser)

If you have trouble finding us please call on 0115 9348445 or email us at info@harmless.org.uk

 

In the News: Stress can cause pupils to self harm, say nearly half of school staff

Nearly two-thirds of education staff believe pressure on teachers and schools to succeed is one of the main causes of student stress, resulting in self harm, drug abuse and eating disorders.

New research from teaching union the ATL shows that 65 per cent of respondents think pupils are stressed out owing to testing and exams; 48 per cent think pupils suffer from stress because of an overcrowded curriculum and 21 per cent think the cause is the volume of homework.

Sixty-one per cent of respondents believe the pressure on teachers and schools to do well cascades down to pupils, while almost a quarter (22 per cent) think students are worried about getting into the best school or university.

One primary teacher from Oxford, who took part in the survey, said: “Pupils are picking up on teachers’ stress owing to inspections and lack of choice of how and what to teach.”

The survey reveals that many education professionals believe rising stress levels are leading to self harm, attempted suicides and eating disorders among students.

Forty-four per cent of education staff think young people self harm as a direct result of pressure, while 31 per cent believe pressure results in eating disorders and 12 per cent think it can cause attempted suicide.

Thirty-four per cent of respondents think students skive off as a result of pressure and stress, while 21 per cent say students take recreational drugs to alleviate the pressure.

Almost two-thirds (64 per cent) say pupils in their school are under more pressure and stress than two years ago.

A secondary teacher from Cambridge said: “These issues were still prevalent 10 years ago, but now, I think, we are better at identifying them. Sadly, there is still not enough funding to do much. Students can sometimes wait months for an initial assessment, even when suicidal.”

The survey of 1,250 ATL members working in primary and secondary schools, academies and sixth-forms was carried out in August and September this year.

Speaking ahead of ATL’s fringe event on pupil wellbeing at the Labour Party conference, Dr Mary Bousted, the union’s general secretary, said: “It is shocking that so many young people are under so much stress that they self harm. It is also alarming that much of the pressure and stress is caused by the education system and this needs to be a wake-up call to policymakers.”

To read the full article, please visit: https://www.tes.com/news/school-news/breaking-news/stress-can-cause-pupils-self-harm-say-nearly-half-school-staff

In the News: Depression and Self Harm Soar Among Private School Pupils

Survey of head teachers finds problems including eating disorders are now at unprecedented levels, with social media and exam stress blamed

Teenage pupils at British private schools are experiencing unprecedented levels of depression, eating disorders and self-harm, according to headteachers, who say longstanding stresses have been amplified by increased pressure over exams and the ever-present anxieties of social media.

The warning comes from the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference(HMC), representing 175 leading private schools, which surveyed 65 headteachers on the subject.

The responses found that in some ways, schools appear to have become kinder places, with fewer cases of intolerance such as homophobic bullying, as well as less drug and alcohol misuse. However, they found greatly increased cyberbullying and online threats, and what the HMC called unprecedented levels of self-harm, depression and eating disorders among pupils.

Bernard Trafford, the headmaster of the Royal Grammar school in Newcastle upon Tyne and a former chair of HMC, told the Guardian that exam pressures played some role, with pupils facing higher grade requirements to get into top universities.

But a greater factor, he said, appeared to be the way social media made common teenage anxieties harder to escape, also exaggerating worries over such things as body image.

“It is the pressure to excel, and also to be beautiful, all that stuff. And friendship issues seem to be more difficult than ever. In the old days, you got home from school, or in the boarding sector got back to your boarding house, and you got away from it to some extent.

 

To read the full article, please visit:

http://www.theguardian.com/education/2015/oct/04/depression-self-harm-eating-disorders-private-school-pupils-headteachers-poll?CMP=twt_gu

Self harm – A personal experience

When I think about self-harm now, there’s a detachment.

In a way I can see and almost feel my younger self in the context of acute distress, unable to express my emotions and feeling like there was no outlet for the internal torment. I can place myself in my former mind and body, and recall when I found self-harm – as a way out of the heightened fear and anxiety, an effective mechanism to cope, a short term relief to the feelings I couldn’t deal with, or sometimes a way to remind myself I was alive when I felt nothing at all.

I can place myself back in that person, know it, feel it and realise the familiarity – and yet at the same time it feels so distant, far removed, a moment, memory and time gone by.

I welcome that I can reflect and know that I am not in that place anymore, and I even value the negative nostalgia – for I know I made it through, and I know I have grown stronger, more resilient and more equipped with a toolbox of healthy coping mechanisms through addressing my self-harm.

I began self-harming intermittently aged 10, at age 12 this progressed to a daily ritualistic action, and up to 17 I was regularly injuring myself as a way to externally manifest the pain, hopelessness and confusion I was feeling inside. At the time I was also in the depths of anorexia, completely consumed, and at times paralysed, with OCD – the combination of my conditions had a toxic interplay which made it difficult to unpick the mesh of thoughts and behaviours to find remedy, support and relief.

Through many interventions and treatment, focus was often, if not always, placed on treatment of one condition or behaviour – tackle the eating disorder and leave everything else, or stop the self-harm before addressing the OCD. This simple, one dimensional approach may have created short-term positives, but ultimately resulted in bigger set-backs, and long-term wasn’t conducive to my overall recovery. If my self-harming reduced, my anorexia ignited with full force and if my eating was improving, I felt an intense need to punish myself with self-harm and infinite OCD compulsions.

It wasn’t until I accessed and engaged with treatment that took a comprehensive and holistic approach, looking at me as a person – supporting and treating my illnesses and distress as a whole, that I was able to start making small steps in all areas towards getting better. This is the point: We as people are just that – whole, real, living, breathing humans with complex needs – and so we need compassionate, holistic treatment and support to reflect this reality.

If focus is only ever placed on one snapshot of our struggle, it will only ever place a band-aid on a small piece of a jigsaw that can never become complete – there will likely always be a gap, a void, a missing part.

Treat us, support us, see us – as a whole – so that we can become whole again.

Our CEO, Caroline, Speaks in Response to the Results of the ‘Girlguiding Girls’ Attitudes Survey 2015′

Girlguiding Girls’ Attitudes Survey 2015 has shown that an alarming number of girls aged 11-21 in the UK are experiencing emotional distress, but more alarmingly, that they feel that the parents and adults in their lives fail to notice or understand these.

Our CEO, Caroline Harroe gave comment today to Capital fm on the report, stating that “whilst what the report states is upsetting, it does not come as a surprise… we hear the stories of young people on a daily basis and whilst we are aware that more people are coming forwards to seek support, there is still a huge gap between the needs of young people and how well they are received by adults. This report is just a manifestation of what we see every day in society; young people are disempowered and their distress is often written off as ‘immature’ or ‘hormonal’. We need to listen sooner to the needs of young people and help them to express themselves freely in order to get the help that they need.”

You can listen to the interview with Caroline on Capital fm across the course of the afternoon and read the full article below:

 

 Parents are too often out of touch with the mental health pressures faced by girls and young women, suggests research.

Self-harm was the biggest health concern for girls aged 11-21, according to the Girlguiding Girls’ Attitudes Survey 2015.

Researchers questioned a representative sample of more than 1,500 UK girls and young women aged seven to 21.

The findings “provide a stark warning”, said chief executive Julie Bentley.

Resilience

The figures show the mental wellbeing and resilience of UK girls are under threat – and yet adults are failing to recognise this, according to the organisation, the UK’s largest charity for girls and young women.

Among more than 1,000 11-to-21-year-old girls and young women questioned, the top health concerns were self-harm, mental illness, depression and eating disorders, along with smoking.

Some 62% of this age group said they knew a girl or young woman who had experienced a mental health problem, while 82% said adults often failed to recognise the pressures they faced.

Overall, more than a third (37%) said they had needed help with their own mental health.

Girlguiding says comparable figures from its 2010 survey showed girls’ top concerns then were binge-drinking, smoking and drug abuse.

 

The 2015 survey suggests girls believe their parents’ worries are stuck in the past, focusing on drug and alcohol abuse.

Worries about sexual harassment and low body confidence are widespread, suggests the survey.

Three-quarters of the 11-to-21 age group said anxiety about sexual harassment had had a negative impact on them in some way, for example, affecting what they wore and how they felt about their bodies.

Some 39% said they had experienced a demeaning comment on their appearance within the past week.

Among the seven-to-11 age group, 83% reported feeling sad or down and 16% said this was because of concerns about their looks.

Root causes

Ms Bentley called for an open conversation about the issues.

“By listening to girls we can work together to tackle the root causes of their distress and champion their potential.”

Harmless Self Harm Drop-in on Thursday

Harmless provide two drop-in sessions per month, one for adults and a separate one for young people.

Our next drop-in session is for young persons and will be held on:

Thursday 6th August at 3pm –  4pm for young persons aged up to 21 years.

Our trained therapist will be on hand to offer information or advice about any concerns you may have about self harm.

If you have any concerns about someone such as a family member, friend or a colleague, then please feel free to join us, you will be assured of a friendly welcome.

All drop-in sessions will take place at the Nottingham Community and Voluntary Service Building, Mansfield Road, Nottingham, NG1 3FB (Opposite House of Fraser)

If you have trouble finding us please call on 0115 9348445, or email us at info@harmless.org.uk.

Self Harm: What should school staff be aware of?

Self harm is an increasing problem among children and young people and schools are on the front-line. Child and educational psychologist Dr Joanna Mitchell offers some advice on spotting the signs and how to respond.

Self harm is a concerning reality for teachers, parents and professionals working with children and young people today.

Recent statistics conclude that rates have increased in the UK and are now among the highest in Europe. According to the National Institute for Care and Excellence, the risk of suicide has also increased (NICE 2013).

Studies conclude that between 10 and 12 per cent of young people self harm, but the true incidence is largely unknown as many young people do not present for help.

A recent poll commissioned by ChildLine, YouthNet, SelfHarmUK and YoungMinds revealed that of the 2,000 children and young people surveyed, over half of the 11 to 14-year-olds reported having self harmed, or knowing someone who had. Equally, eight out of ten 18 to 21-year-olds say they have self harmed or know someone who has (reported by NSPCC on Self Harm Awareness day – March 1, 2015).

The predominant reason young people give for not reporting their self harm is the concern that they will not be listened to or that they will be misunderstood.

Yet at the same time self harm is the one issue that all groups (young people, parents and professionals) feel least comfortable approaching. Parents tend to associate young people self harming with failing as a parent, and teachers feels helpless and unsure about what to say. Other research has found that three in five GPs do not know what language to use when talking about self harm with young people.

Children and young people’s general mental health continues to be a concern at both political, social and community levels. Below are some key principles for school staff in how to understand and mange this complex psychological and social phenomenon.

To read the full news article, follow this link:

http://www.headteacher-update.com/best-practice-article/self-harm-what-should-school-staff-be-aware-of/82466/

In the News: Self-harming, why boys need classes to help them cope with their emotions

Almost 5,000 boys and teenagers were admitted to A&E over the last year with self-inflicted injuries last year, according to official figures.

This is a rise of 15 per cent from the year before, though experts suggest the reported numbers may be only the tip of the iceberg.

“Young women and girls may talk about this more, which is the same thing we see in other health and mental health concerns,” said Dr Stephen Lewis, an expert in non-suicidal self-injury at the University of Guelph, in Canada.

“With men there’s often a greater sense of shame; the feeling that you shouldn’t be doing these things and you should be stronger.”

Dr Lewis understands these feelings better than most: he began self-harming as a teenager and continued until his time as a university undergraduate, an experience which he relayed in a recent TED Talk.

While he grew up in a “loving, supportive family”, in secondary school he was “relentlessly” bullied.

“I can recall the pain in my arms from being punched so hard,” Dr Lewis said. “I can also recall what they said to me on a daily basis: ‘You should just kill yourself’.

“I yearned for relief; just a temporary break from the pain that I felt inside. And so, out of desperation…I cut myself. For me, self-injury provided needed relief.

“It communicated the great hatred I felt towards myself.”

Through family support and therapy, Dr Lewis was able to end this self-harm, but he now believes more should be done in schools to help young people – and in particular young men – cope with negative emotions and stress.

“There’s virtually nothing out there about preventing people self-harming,” he said. “Ideally we would be working with children and adolescents as they go through school, teaching them about how we can cope with and express different emotions.

“If they feel they shouldn’t be expressing certain things, they will learn that they shouldn’t talk about how they feel. And over time, even though the majority won’t go on to self-harm, some will.”

He suggested that young people were under more stress than in previous generations, and that heightened stress is often associated with self-harm.

In his previous research, Dr Lewis has focussed on how the internet can be used to support people who are or are at risk of self-harming.

 

To read the news article, please follow this link:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/thinking-man/11573329/Self-harming-why-boys-need-classes-to-help-them-cope-with-their-emotions.html