Rachel Welch, project manager at selfharm.co.uk, isn't convinced self-harming is on the rise.
It's just we are more aware of it, says the 35-year-old. Indeed, even the Bible includes stories about self-harming and the World Health Organisation has long recognised it as a problem, not just in the West but in developing countries.It seems that you don't just have to reach for the razor blades:
"If you think back," Welch says, "you may well remember someone in your youth who bit their nails furiously to the point of bleeding or who pulled out their hair. I knew one woman who always wore shoes a size too small because she said each step reminded her of just how awful she thought she was. When I self-harmed as a teenager, I used bruising. Like these other people, I didn't think of it as self-harm, though, because the label wasn't around and there was no real understanding of it."Which sounds a lot like most modern panics, come to think of it, doesn't it?
You're a little slow? Nonsense! You have 'learning difficulties'!
Your kids are undisciplined little hellions? It's not your parenting skills, they have ADHD!
"And it certainly didn't occur to me to contact anyone to help make sense of what I was doing. We had no phone except one static landline where everyone could hear you and I wouldn't have known who to call anyway," she says.
"Nowadays, people are much more likely to know about self-harm and they can contact organisations like ours, ChildLine and others privately by phone or online."Yet again, another facet that can be applied to modern ills - the burgeoning 'help and awareness' industry that grows up around them. And they don't want to give up their often hard-won positions.
Certainly not by taking a long hard look at whether this is an increasing problem or not:
But Sue Minto, head of ChildLine, believes the increase in cases has been dramatic.Yes, I bet you do...
"In 2011/12, self-harm appeared for the first time in the top five main concerns for 14 year olds. This dropped further to 13 year olds in 2012/13, indicating that more young people are self-harming at a younger age," she says.
While some headlines have blamed a society increasingly obsessed with body image (which may help account for why girls are more prone to self-harming), Minto believes a more serious problem is the 24/7 online culture.
"In my day, if someone was bullied, they could find escape at home, but that isn't available now. Before you know it, something you said in confidence to one friend, or something unkind that someone else has said about you, is up there in neon lights for anyone to read for any amount of time."Because absolutely no-one thinks that turning off the computer or mobile phone might be a solution, do they? And you aren't going to suggest it.
Nor are all the other vultures greedily picking over the corpse of our society:
Then there's the fact that families are increasingly fragmented and the inequality gap is widening.
"Research shows that under-12s, in particular, are very watchful when their parents are stressed and often internalise it," says Fiona Pienaar, head of service management at children's mental health charity Place2Be. No wonder so many more young people turn to self-harm to cope, she says.
"People report that the pain – and blood, if cutting is involved – can make them feel they are alive, when otherwise they feel numb or insignificant. People also talk about the overwhelming tension that can build up in their body, which hurting yourself can release. Then there's the way that physical pain can push away emotional pain. Many people, for example, report banging their heads against a wall when dreadful thoughts seem to take over. And others talk about wanting to punish themselves."There's only one group I'd like to see punished. I think I might have to find a handy wall, quick!