young mental healthNearly a third (28%) of young people in Lancashire say they have considered self-harming, according to a survey.

The research, by Addaction’s Mind and Body (MAB) project also revealed that 81% of young people think that some, many or most young people their age self-harm. Girls are more likely to be depressed and worried. 

MAB is a scheme that supports young people who may be vulnerable to self-harm. The early intervention programme is designed to promote mental health and emotional wellbeing among young people who may be coping with low self-esteem, anxiety, body image issues and low mood. Young Addaction Lancashire is delivering MAB at four schools across Lancaster, Morecambe, Fylde and Wyre this term. 

Staff have spoken to 500 young people in Lancashire about their mental health since MAB began in September. The survey found that of those 28% who had thought about self-harm, 66% said they had felt depressed for six or more days in the last month, and 47% said they felt overwhelmed by worries either often or all the time. Meanwhile, 3 in 10 young people said they have a close friend who has self-harmed

Hazel Cossey, pastoral manager at Baines School, said: “The identification of the students was surprising. It pulled out students who I would never have come across. They would never have got support… but by doing that [MAB] survey, it identified those students. It was a real eye-opener.  Students were under the radar and the majority of them would never have been identified.”

One young participant commented: “I am feeling happier within myself, sleeping and eating better. It has shown me there are better ways to cope other than using self-harm. Life-changing.”

The MAB programme was developed in consultation with young people and professionals from the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service and draws on the experience Addaction has gained from delivering the programme elsewhere in the UK. Through groups and one-to-one sessions, MAB helps pupils aged 14-18 to open up about their mental health and find positive ways to cope with emotional problems.

The project is a pilot for North Lancashire and funded for one year by Health Education England’s Innovation Fund, which aims to support new ways of providing access to good quality mental health services for children and young people.