The Mix, the charity supporting young people under 25, calls for more conversations about self-harm during the pandemic and how to access support.
Research carried out with YouGov shows that 34% of young people who have self-harmed in the past 12 months said their tendency to self-harm has increased due to coronavirus lockdowns. Of those who self-harmed at some point in their life, 38% self-harmed in the past 12 months, a 5% increase since March 2020.
Young people feel that the pandemic has prevented them from having the future and education they were hoping for.
"We urgently need to raise awareness of the help we can offer for self-harm to close this gap."
Access to help for self-harm has been hit. Among young people who had self-harmed in the past 12 months, 40% have not accessed any support services during this time, and 30% of 16- to 25-year-olds said they found it more difficult to get access to services.
Some 42% of young people agreed that the stigma around self-harm would discourage them from accessing services if they needed them.
63% of young people think that self-harm is not spoken about enough in the media, with those who self-harmed in the past even more likely to agree with this (67%).
The Mix wants to start these conversations to empower young people to speak out about their experience of self-harm and to seek support when they need it.
Zoe Bailie, Director of Brand & Development at The Mix, commented:
“This research confirmed something we feared was happening; that young people are self-harming more because of the impact of the pandemic and that lockdown restrictions are preventing them from accessing the support they need. The data shows that those who are already struggling are being left behind, and we urgently need to raise awareness of the help we can offer for self-harm to close this gap.
We are calling for more conversations about self-harm during this tough time for young people and for raised awareness of the support that’s already available, such as our online community. It’s time to break the stigma around self-harm and let young people know they can seek the help they need and deserve.”
The main reasons for the increasing tendency to self-harm during lockdowns are anxiety about the future (52%) and worries about school or education (36%). This ties in with the findings that of those who had ever self-harmed, full-time students were more likely to say they had self-harmed in the past 12 months (46%) than young people who work (33%).
The Mix has published a white paper, looking at self-harm behaviours during the pandemic, how they evolved in the last 12 months and what support is available to young people.