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Daily news from the Canaries and the islands
   Daily news from the Canaries and the islands' biggest English language newspaper on-line

Cry for help
Alarming increase in teenage self-harm
The number of youngsters who deliberately hurt themselves or contemplate suicide has seen a chilling rise in the first nine months of the year.


The injuries are a cry for help
The injuries are a cry for help
© Wikimedia

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02.11.2015 - The number of calls received by the ANAR youth emergency line has risen to 507 from 344 over the same period in 2014.  The majority (84 per cent) of the calls to the free hotline 900 202 010 are from young females.  Diana Díaz, psychologist and deputy director of ANAR explained: "We see the current situation as a serious problem in society.  The phenomenon itself is not new, but it is reaching new levels due to the Internet media and has almost become a kind of ‘fashion’."

Teenagers feel alone, despite their families - the psychologist calls this accompanied solitude.  The main causes are the more pernicious effects of the social networks, excessive consumption of alcohol and drugs and mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety.  "The emotional swings in adolescence, social isolation and escaping into new technologies are the big risk today", the expert continued.  Adolescents contact like-minded people on the social networks and goad each other on.  It is a trend which is causing Díaz a great deal of unease.

She advises concerned parents to be vigilant for early signs of the injuries, to make time for and show willingness to talk with their youngsters.  To dismiss the problem as “typical teenage troubles” was fatal she avowed.  "The self-inflicted injuries are cries for help that must be taken very seriously" affirmed Díaz.  

ANAR also provide families and parents with a free hotline for assistance and advice - 600 505 152.

It is important to respond to each case with abundant affection and to avoid tension within the family, the specialist advised; she also underlined the importance of hands-on support from a psychiatrist.



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