ONLINE bullying and exam stress is causing a rise in the number of children self-harming, a new report suggests.

According to the report, prepared by the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) for Southend Council, 54 children and young people were admitted to hospital with a diagnosis of intentional self-harm in in 2014/15 – up from 37 in 2013/14.

The numbers being admitted to hospital with unintentional or deliberate injuries, which includes the above figures, has almost doubled in the last two years, with 98 being admitted between October 2014 and September 2015, compared to only 49 in the same period between 2012 and 2013.

The report linked the rise in intentional self-harm to “anecdotal evidence” of exam pressure and stress from online bullying.

Anne Jones, Southend’s children and learning councillor, suggested the rise in unintentional injury was linked to children climbing tall and dangerous structures – such as the former Empire theatre in Alexandra Street.

She added the stress of exams was causing children to suffer mental health problems but the council was working hard to tackle issues like self-harm and bullying.

Mrs Jones said: “We try to ensure children don’t feel stressed coming up to Christmas, but as a parent who has been through this three times with GCSEs and twice with A-levels, I can understand how difficult it is.

“I spoke to a parent only this week who said their child was stressed over the Christmas holidays just over the thought of mock exams in January and February, and the same goes for A-level students writing their personal statements for university.

“They are children but we are asking them to be grown up and consider their futures at the same time as coping with abject uncertainty.”

She added: “Bringing up teenagers is difficult for this generation of parents because we didn’t have these influences (on the internet) when we were young,” she said.

“It shows why we should have young people very much involved in leading us.”

Self-harm amongst young people and children will be discussed by the council’s cabinet on Tuesday, January 6.

A NEW mental health service is being rolled out for children in Essex.

The North East London Foundation Trust (NELFT) was commissioned to provide an emotional wellbeing and mental health service for young people aged 18 and under across Southend, Thurrock and Essex authorities.

The service came into force on Sunday, November 1.

Being gradually rolled out between now and Friday, April 1, it is designed to be a one-stop shop for young people experiencing difficulties with mental health such as self-harm, as well as providing preventative programmes in schools and training other health and social services professionals.

Southend YMCA chief executive Syrie Cox said: “NELFT will be a front door which young people can call and parents can call as well.

“They’ve got a good track record of service which will be working with young people who are self-harming.”

Anyone requiring the service can call 0300 300 1600 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday, as well as 0300 555 1201 to be put through to immediate crisis support help.

Young people may also be referred to the service via their GP or other health and social professional, or by emailing