Self-harm is up sharply among girls

Published 8:31 am Friday, May 24, 2019

Tom Crann, Megan Burks, Kyle Shiely

MPR news/90.1 FM

The National Alliance on Mental Illness says it’s not uncommon for people to harm themselves on purpose, especially adolescents and young adults. But health care providers are concerned about a significant increase in the behavior over the past decade.

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A study from the Centers for Disease Control found the rate of self-harm went relatively unchanged prior to 2009, and then shot up threefold among girls ages 10 to 14 between 2009 and 2015. The trend dovetails with a study out this month that says the suicide rate among girls 10 to 14 is growing faster than the rate for boys of the same age.

It’s unclear why self-harm has increased for girls, but some suggest it’s related to smartphones and social media.