Tragic teenage trend of self-harming selfies on the rise

There has been an alarming increase in the number of teenagers posting self-harm pictures on social network sites.


by Jessica Anais Rach |
Published on

Charity Mindfull has highlighted the growing trend of troubled teenagers posting these pictures, in a bid to gain sympathy or even approval from strangers.

Sadly, there are reportedly whole communities of self-harmers encouraging each other, much like the pro-anorexia sites where sufferers post emaciated photos of themselves.

Childline founder Esther Rantzen has warned that 22,000 kids and teens were treated in hospital in 2012 alone, signifying a 41% increase in overall cases of self-harm, with a shocking 50% rise among 12-year-olds.

MindFull is training teenagers to become mentors for young troubled teenagers.

17-year-old mentor Jodie Barreiro, who is a former victim of bullying, admits she sees at least three self-harming selfies a week.

“They don’t want to tell their parents so they post it on social media. They’re doing it as a cry for help, trying to get people’s attention, hoping people will notice something is wrong.”

A 15-year-old trainee, who wishes to remain anonymous, admits she started self-harming at 7 when her parents split up.

A shocking picture of self-harm on Instagram
A shocking picture of self-harm on Instagram

She believes that knowing other young people self-harm can normalise the habit and make it addictive.

“My friend does it because she doesn’t like what she looks like and she gets depressed. She has panic attacks. She finds it hard to speak to friends, even me.

"I did it maybe because I knew my friend did it"

“I was depressed and it got to the point where I got addicted. I did it maybe because I knew my friend did it. I knew it was an option, almost like a comfort blanket. So many people do it. Most young people I know have some kind of anxiety. Family life, school, everything building up made me do it.’

Speaking about their training programme, MindFull’s Director of Operations Francis Burrows says:

"The kids who come to us talk about exam pressure, family problems, bullying, low level depression, anxiety"

“Apps like Instagram and Snapchat provide a place where they can post images and then have others comment on them. Sadly, this can lead to posts encouraging them to harm themselves more. Schools are coming to us saying they have a problem but don’t know how to address it. The kids who come to us talk about exam pressure, family problems, bullying, low level depression, anxiety.

“Some have been on a waiting list for nine, 11 months for adolescent mental health services. School nurses don’t have enough hours in the day to support mental health properly. With mentoring like this we hope we can help to bridge that gap.”

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