Self-harm: sorting fact from fiction

Self-harm: sorting fact from fiction

Self-harm occurs when people deliberately hurt their bodies. Research suggests that 6-7% of young Australians (aged 15-24) have self-harmed in any 12-month period, while over 12% report having done so at some point in their life. Self-harm is more common after the
onset of puberty.

The average age at which self-harm first occurs is 12-14 years and, in adolescents, it is more common among girls than boys. However, self-harm can occur in anyone, regardless of
their age, gender, socio-economic status or culture/ethnicity. Self-harm often goes unnoticed. It is commonly done in private and most young people who self-harm don’t seek help or come to the attention of health services.

This resource dispels common myths surrounding self-harm and summarises the latest evidence.

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