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Self-harm and suicidal thoughts on the rise among students, school leaders say

There has been an increase in self-harm and suicidal thoughts among students in the last five years, school leaders reported.

Nearly eight out of 10 (79%) leaders reported an increase in self-harm or suicidal thoughts among their students, a survey by the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) found.

Furthermore, more than half (55%) of school leaders said there had been a large increase in anxiety or stress in their pupils over the last five years, and over 40% reported a significant increase in the problem of cyber-bullying.

This comes after the government has recently pledged to invest an extra £1billion for mental healthcare by 2021.

The findings reflect cutbacks in CAMHS in many areas of the country over the past five years, ASCL stated.

As a result of the survey findings, Malcolm Trobe, ASCL interim general secretary told the association's annual conference in Birmingham: “The fact is that children today… live in a world of enormously high expectations, where new technologies present totally new challenges such as cyber-bullying.

“Its importance cannot be over-emphasised. Early intervention is essential before problems become entrenched and start to increase in severity. [Specialist mental health] services are a vital lifeline that many young people cannot do without," he added.