Over 14,000 children in London, aged 14, may have self-harmed, a new report suggests.

The Children’s Society helps children and young people who feel scared, unloved and unable to cope. They conducted a survey of 11,000 children and found that 22 percent of girls and 9 percent of boys had said they had hurt themselves on purpose in the year prior to the questionnaire.

Based on these figures, they estimate that across London almost 10,000 girls and 4,500 boys aged 14 may have self-harmed during the same period.

Almost half of 14-year-olds who said they had been attracted to people of the same gender or both genders said they had self-harmed analysis of the Millennium Cohort Survey revealed.

Four in ten of these children had shown signs of depression and three in ten had low well-being.

Matthew Reed, Chief Executive at The Children’s Society, said: “It is deeply worrying that so many children are unhappy to the extent that they are self-harming.

“Worries about how they look are a big issue, especially for girls, but this report shows other factors such as how they feel about their sexuality and gender stereotypes may be linked to their unhappiness.”

Emma Thomas, CEO of YoungMinds, said: “The reasons behind self-harm can be complex and multiple, but we know from our research that teenage girls today face a wide range of pressures. Difficult experiences in childhood, like growing up in poverty or experiencing discrimination, can have a huge impact on mental health, but there are also new pressures that have emerged in recent years. The education system now places a greater emphasis than ever on exam results, while the rise of social media can make problems like bullying or body image issues more intense than they were in the past.

“At the moment, it’s far too difficult for young people to get support when problems first emerge. That’s why we need increased, long-term funding for mental health services, as well as a greater focus on early intervention. Schools also need the resources and recognition to make the wellbeing of students a priority.”