accessibility & help

Increasing levels of self-poisoning leads to British Red Cross first aid advice for young people

7 May 2013

Increasing levels of self-poisoning leads to British Red Cross first aid advice for young people The British Red Cross has developed first aid advice for young people on how to help friends who have self-harmed, including a video advice on dealing with self-poisoning.

For further information contact:
Penny Sims 020 7877 7044 / PSims@redcross.org.uk
On call mobile: 0771 0391703

• Over 110,000 admissions to hospital in UK last year from self-poisoning
• Research by British Red Cross shows self-harm as major concern for teen age group – 80% requested advice
• Video and Facebook advice on how to help friends launches Tuesday 7 May

The British Red Cross has developed first aid advice for young people on how to help friends who have self-harmed, including a video advice on dealing with self-poisoning.

Self-harm by self-poisoning has increased by over 50% across all age groups in the last 10 years, with over 110,000 cases reported at A&E departments across the UK last year.

Paul Donnelly, head of campaigns at the British Red Cross, said:
“Self-harm is a difficult subject for people to talk about, and self-harm by poisoning is something that particularly worried us, as the figures are so high and many people wouldn’t know what to do if they came across a friend or family member who had taken a harmful substance. It’s an intimidating subject, but our research shows that young people are concerned about it and need advice. It’s vital that we give young people first aid advice that helps them take control of the situation, feel confident to act and maybe even save someone’s life.”

Around 1 in 12 young people are thought to self-harm in some way in their lives. 42% of young people polled by the British Red Cross said they or someone they knew had self-harmed, and 80% said they would like to know what first aid they could do to help someone.

The video, which launches on Tuesday 7 May, gives basic first aid advice on the first actions to take on discovering someone who has taken a harmful substance. The Facebook page also includes 10 pieces of advice on how to help friends who may have self-harmed, or who are at risk of such behaviour.

The charity has worked with Young Minds, the leading mental health charity for young people, to create the advice.

Donnelly continued:
“It’s important to us reach young people with the advice that they need. In this case we’ve worked with a YouTube vlogger [Louise aka Sprinkleofglitter] on a video tackling the subject of self-poisoning, and with the charity Young Minds to develop our advice on Facebook. Our research showed that 3 in 4 young people wouldn’t know where to turn to get advice, and also many adults find the topic intimidating. We hope that people will share the first aid advice and feel more confident about talking about this issue”.

The advice forms part of a wider campaign called Life.LiveIt, aimed at young people aged 11-18. Last month the charity also sent a DVD to schools to help tackle accidents that can result from drinking. The DVD [Story of a Night Out] comes with teaching notes and is designed as a comprehensive lesson that anyone could use. In previous research, the British Red Cross found that 93% of parents and 83% teachers backed the teaching of first aid in schools, but 52% of PSHE teachers across the UK would not feel confident to teach first aid.


The British Red Cross have also launched their Pupil, Citizen, Lifesaver campaign to urge the government to put first aid and humanitarian education on the new curriculum. For details go to www.redcross.org.uk/pupilcitizenlifesaver


ENDS

For more information, pictures, footage and interviews, please contact

Penny Sims (PSims@redcross.org.uk, 0207 877 7044)

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