'Appalling' mental health provision behind rise in self-harming children

Mental Health

Friday, February 22, 2019

‘Appalling’ mental health provsion is behind a sharp rise in the number of self-harming children, a professor has claimed.

Hospital admissions for children who self-harm has doubled in the past six years, with some linking the rise to the unhealthy effects of social media. 

However, Professor of Organisational Health and Psychology at Manchester Business School, Sir Cary Cooper, told talkRADIO’s Toby Young that inadequate mental health provisions meant vulnerable children were missing out on treatment.



“It’s a whole range of factors, but ultimately we should worry about kids who need help but find it difficult to get it through the NHS," Sir Cary said.

“I find it appalling that we are not getting it early enough. It takes children weeks if not months, depending on where they live, to get access to treatment.

“If kids don’t get the early identification and treatment that can lead to PTSD and other long-term symptoms.”


‘Limit social media’

Social media platforms such as Instragram may be unhealthy for children's mental health. Image: Getty. 

Sir Cary said he believed social media did have a role to play in the large numbers of children with mental health issues, and backed calls to control children’s access to it.

He said: “I would try to control social media for a range of reasons. Number one, children wouldn't be able to model dangerous or inappropriate behaviour that they’ve seen online.



“Number two, if they’re totally engaged in social media all the time then they’re losing their social skills that they usually get from eyeball-to-eyeball, face-to-face contact.”

Sir Cary said parents who worried about their children’s use of social media should think carefully about the examples they were setting themselves.

“Unless we get the parents to model good behaviour, how could we expect the kids to? We need the parents to actually sign up to this as well and not being connected and on all the time themselves,” he added.