One in 10 adolescents in Northern Ireland self-harms, new research has revealed.
Past exposure to years of conflict and the emergence of social media are new associated risk factors, according to a study.
Bullying, sexual, physical, alcohol and drug abuse have also been blamed. Rates of mental disorders are among the highest in Europe.
The findings emerged when 3,595 schoolchildren were surveyed in the first study of its kind to ascertain the prevalence and factors linked to self-harm.
The research was headed up by Professor Rory O’Connor at the University of Glasgow and funded by the Northern Ireland Department of Health, and published in the Journal of Affective Disorders.
One in 10 young people reported that they had self-harmed at some stage in their lives, which is lower than elsewhere in the UK and Republic of Ireland.
Girls were found to be three-and-a-half times more likely to engage in self-harm than boys.
The lower rate was unexpected given that the rates of hospital treated self-harm are high in Northern Ireland while the rates of mental disorders are among the highest in Europe.
Researchers believe that the discrepancy is due to the fact that as a result of the Troubles, young people in Northern Ireland are more reluctant to disclose personal information, masking the true extent of the problem.