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Objective: To (1) estimate the lifetime and 12-month prevalence of self-harm without suicide intent in young people aged 12–17 years, (2) describe the co-morbidity of these behaviours with mental illness and (3) describe their co-variation with key social and demographic variables.
Method: A nationally representative random sample of households with children aged 4–17 years recruited in 2013–2014. The survey response rate was 55% with 6310 parents and carers of eligible households participating. In addition, 2967 (89%) of young people aged 11–17 completed a self-report questionnaire with 2653 of the 12- to 17-year-olds completing questions about self-harm behaviour.
Results: In any 12-month period, about 8% of all 12- to 17-year-olds (an estimated 137,000 12- to 17-year-olds) report engaging in self-harming behaviour without suicide intent. This prevalence increases with age to 11.6% in 16- to 17-year-olds. Eighteen percent (18.8%; 95% confidence interval [CI] = [14.5, 23.0]) of all 12- to 17-year-old young people with any mental health disorder measured by parent or carer report said that they had engaged in self-harm in the past 12 months. Among young people who were measured by self-report and met criteria for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders’ major depressive disorder almost half (46.6%; 95% CI = [40.0, 53.1]) also reported that they had engaged in self-harm in the past 12 months. Suicide risk among those who self-harm is significantly elevated relative to the general population.
Conclusion: The demonstrated higher risks in these young people for continued harm or possible death support the need for ongoing initiatives to reduce self-harm through mental health promotion, improved mental health literacy and continuing mental health reform to ensure services are accessible to, and meet the needs of families and young persons.
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- 1 Finished
1/01/14 → 31/12/20