There has been a steep rise in reports of self-harm among young teenage girls in the United Kingdom. A new study from the British Medical Journal reports that more and more girls aged 13 to 16 suffer from self-inflicted harm. Researchers from the University of Manchester looked at data on nearly 17,000 patients from more than 600 doctors' surgeries. The researchers found that there was a 68 per cent increase in self-harm among 13- to 16-year-old girls over the three-year period of the study. During the same period, rates stayed constant among 10- to 12-year-old girls and 17- to 19-year-olds. The study said self-harm rates among girls are three times higher than those for boys.
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Doctor Nav Kapur, study author and professor of psychiatry and population health, said increasing stress and psychological problems were probably what was fuelling the trend. He said: "We must take self-harm seriously. It's important to understand its underlying causes." A UK children's charity said: "Self-harm can often be an expression of a deeper problem, which is why early intervention services to support these children are vital. Without this, the consequences really can be a matter of life or death." Self-harm is one of the biggest risk factors for suicide among teens. Suicide is now the second most common cause of death in the under-25s worldwide.