“Self – harming, largely by teenagers, is a rapidly growing problem in Hertfordshire and in our country as a whole.
Last week, in Hitchin, I went to the launch of a new charity called GRIT (Growing Resilience in Teens), founded and led by Hitchin GP, Dr Louise Randall. Dr Randall was inspired to launch the project in the face of what she describes as an epidemic of self – harm (which she has seen first hand in her own medical practice) exacerbated by rising teenager exposure to social media. According to the NSPCC, nearly 19,000 children received hospital treatment for self-harm in 2015, a 14% increase since 2012. The number of girls treated as hospital inpatients after cutting themselves has almost quadrupled over ten years, from 600 to 2,311.
GRIT aims to offer a 12 week programme designed to build resilience and improve self-confidence and esteem thereby reducing self-destructive behaviour. The general outline is that the first six weeks comprises the recovery phase, during which each teenager will take part in treatment for anxiety, depression and eating disorders, combined with a nutritional educational programme. The second six weeks will be more bespoke, depending on the needs/wishes of each participant, but it will typically comprise of activities that have been proven to help specific problems such as anxiety or anger management. In Hitchin, we expect these activities to be things like yoga, boxing or equine facilitated coaching.
In the autumn we will be doing local fundraisers to raise money to start the programme, so watch this space! In the meantime, here is a video, which summarises the vision by Louise and her team: https://vimeo.com/211735030”