There has been an “alarming” rise in the rates of self-harm in England, research suggests.

A Lancet Psychiatry study found that in 2014, 6% of people had self-harmed, up from 2% in 2000 – with the highest rate in those aged 16-24.

But the number getting no help remained at about 50% – and experts said more support was needed.

And there are concerns self-harm could become more serious as people age, leading to suicidal behaviour.

The term self-harm describes when people hurt themselves, perhaps by punching, hitting or burning, as a way of dealing with difficult feelings or overwhelming situations and experiences.

The triggers can be complex, but experts suggest academic pressures, and problems such as bullying or body image, are increasingly significant factors.

Emma Thomas, chief executive of the

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