Heal the Harm – Ending Self-Abuse

About 17,500 Canadians – an average of 48 a day – were admitted to hospital last year for treatment of “self-injury” – a euphemism for attempted suicide and self-mutilation.

Young women aged 15 to 19 were the most likely to self-injure, at a rate more than double that of their teen male counterparts, according to a new report from the Canadian Institute for Health Information. It’s the first time such data have been collected and analyzed. The most common form of self-harm is, by far, poisoning (including drug overdose) at 85 per cent, followed by cutting or piercing at 10 per cent and strangulation at 2 per cent.

But the number, 17,500, is probably a significant underestimate of the true extent of the problem, said David Goldbloom, senior medical adviser at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto. “On the one hand it’s an astonishing number, but on the other hand you have to realize it’s just the tip of the iceberg,” Dr. Goldbloom said in an interview.

That’s because the data include only people who were treated in an emergency room and then admitted to hospitals overnight. Not included are people who do not seek treatment (which many so-called cutters and self-harmers do not).
Source: The Globe and Mail, June 8, 2011

Heal the Harm is a psycho-educational group program for teens girls and boys aged 14 – 18 years. It is a confidential group that addresses the issues that underpin self harming. Some of the topics covered are cutting, burning, pinching, hair pulling, pill taking and drugs, alcohol and all forms of self-harm in which the youth of our communities are engaged.

This issue has been kept in the dark for too long. If your child is involved in any of these activities, it is not a time for panic. But, it is a time for action.

For further information, or to discuss this issue with an expert, please contact Mindy Ralston at 905-252-6192 or mralston@partnerscounselling.com

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