I have chosen to carry out an investigation on the subject of suicide and self harm in young people because these are serious problems in this country, and the problems are escalating out of control. I think it is important that everyone should understand a little better what these problems really are, how they affect people and what self-harmers and people who are suicidal can do to receive help.
[Kurt Cobain¡¦s suicide letter.]
- The main questions/aims I intend to find out about are:
1. What is self-harm?
2. What is suicide?
3. Why do young people self-harm?
4. Why do young people commit suicide?
5. What are the facts and figures?
6. What help can be given to young people who are suicidal or who self-harm?
In order to answer these questions I intend to read books, search the Internet, carry out a public opinion poll, read newspapers and watch television.
What Is Self-Harm?
What Is Suicide?
Deliberate self-harm is a term that covers a variety of behaviours, with a multitude of different functions and a wide range of intentions. I found this definition while on the internet and it comes from Professor Keith Hawton and his colleagues at the Centre for Suicide Research in Oxford (Hawton et al, 2002):
¡§An act with a non-fatal outcome in which an individual deliberately did one or more of the following: h initiated a behaviour (e.g. self-cutting, jumping from a height which they intended to cause harm to the self); h ingested a substance in excess of the prescribed or generally recognized therapeutic dose; h ingested a recreational or illicit drug (which they intended to cause harm to the self); h ingested a non-ingestible substance or object (e.g. batteries, razor blades).¡¨
¡§Two elements are crucial: there is acute damage to the self (this excludes, therefore, behaviours such as smoking or eating an unhealthy diet); and damage is intentional (therefore, excluding accidents or behaviours such as starving where the motive is to lose weight as in anorexia nervosa). Some clinicians and researchers draw distinctions between forms of deliberate self-harm where there is or is not an intention to die, distinguishing attempted suicide from self-harm or self-mutilation. For some people, deliberate self-harm is more about finding a way of coping with life rather than ending it.¡¨ -Michaele Swales [quoted]
Suicide is taking one¡¦s own life without the aid of another person.
Why Do Young People Self-Harm?
Why Do Young People Commit Suicide?
There are a number of significant events in people¡¦s lives that can make them more prone to self-harm or suicide. These include being treated abusively, being harassed or bullied, a breakdown in the family or with friends or a bereavement, as well as depression and other kinds of mental illness.
Suicide and attempted suicide are often linked to a build-up, or a combination of difficult events in a young person¡¦s life.
Suicidal thoughts and attempts are common among young people; the ratio of attempted suicides to completed suicides in under 25 year olds, in 2005, was 200:1.
Outside factors such as high levels of youth unemployment, poor housing or heavy use of alcohol and drugs may also increase the risk of self-harm and in some cases suicide.
Many young people self-harm because their friends have told them it¡¦s ¡§cool¡¨. Sometimes they want people to notice that there is something wrong without actually having to say it out loud. Occasionally young people think that they have done something wrong in their lives and think this is a way of punishing themselves.
If you are feeling suicidal it may seem impossible to look forward to anything, given your current situation.
Facts & Figures
h More people commit suicide in towns and cities than in rural areas. h 1200-1500 self-harmers are admitted to Manchester Hospital Accident & Emergency every year. h Suicide...