Self-harming among armed forces up by a third

The number of armed forces personnel deliberately self-harming has jumped by more than a third over a five-year period.

Figures released by the Ministry of Defence revealed a 36% increase in servicemen and women who self-harmed at least once between 2010/11 and 2014/15.

There were 383 recordings of deliberate self-harming (DSH) - including self-injury and self-poisoning - for Navy, Army and RAF personnel in 2014/15, up from 339 in 2010/11.

The data excludes servicemen and women who had thoughts of DSH or suicide.

Women, Army personnel and those aged under 24 were most at risk, the figures suggested.

Those aged under 20 were around 10 times more likely to self-harm than those aged 45 and over, while women were around twice as likely as men to be at risk.

The MoD said the risk groups in the armed forces were in line with those in the general population.

Improved methods of capturing DSH data could have attributed to the reported rise in incidents, the MoD added. 

The data included regular armed forces personnel, mobilised reservists, full-time reservists and non-regular permanent staff alongside trained and untrained personnel.

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