Young Men Are Hidden Self-Harmers
On Self Harm Awareness Day, a new YoungMinds survey reveals that an alarming 24% of 16-24-year-old men in the UK have intentionally hurt themselves, and 22% have considered it as a way of coping with a difficult situation or emotion.
The figures come from a YouGov survey commissioned by YoungMinds, The Mix, and selfharmUK. We've joined forces to shed light on specific self-harm behaviours that young men engage in and have found that these are not always commonly recognised as self-harm. As a result, there is a crisis happening now among young men who struggle to find positive ways to cope with overwhelming events and emotions.
Sarah Brennan, CEO at YoungMinds, said:
People often assume that young men rarely suffer self-harm, but this survey shows that, sadly, this is a myth. Self-harm is often misunderstood, so we need to better understand young men’s distress and their responses, so that we can help. Our message to anyone who’s struggling to cope is to talk to someone you trust - whether that’s a friend, a family member, a counsellor or a confidential helpline. It isn’t a sign of weakness to look for help.”
Worryingly, the survey also disclosed that young men, when they feel under pressure or stress, would be likely to drink heavily (21%), punch walls (19%) and control their eating (16%) as ways to cope. Over-exercising (12%), pulling hair (11%) and taking illegal drugs (10%) have also been mentioned as ways of dealing with pressure or stress.
One young man, when asked to talk about the situation or emotion that first led to self-harm said:
I was overworking putting pressure on home and work life. Feeling overwhelmed with stress daily.”