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Medical staff say services stretched as self-harming teens seek help
Doctors seeing unprecedented spike in cutting patients
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Doctors across the country say mental health services are strained as more teens arrive at emergency rooms seeking help for self-inflicted wounds and suicidal thoughts.

Psychiatrist Kathleen Pajer with the IWK Health Centre in Halifax says it's not clear why so many teens are cutting or burning themselves, but many appear lost and unable to cope with anxiety.

Psychiatrist Hazen Gandy with the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa says he's seeing twice as many kids as 10 years ago.

The hospital has reported an unprecedented spike in emergency room visits for kids in the midst of mental health crises.

In the 2012-13 fiscal year, it reported that 2900 children and teens under 18 sought help, the highest number of pediatric emergency mental health visits in the province.

Gandy says kids aged 12 to 17 arrive after slashing their arms, thighs or bellies with everything from razor blades to the sharp edges of pop cans.

He says self-harming is a symptom of deeper issues such as anxiety or depression that stem from complex causes.

Gandy and other doctors across Canada say many teens lack coping skills, and increased demand for help is stretching health services.

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Doctors across the country say mental health services are strained as more teens arrive at emergency rooms seeking help for self-inflicted wounds and suicidal thoughts.

Psychiatrist Kathleen Pajer with the IWK Health Centre in Halifax says it's not clear why so many teens are cutting or burning themselves, but many appear lost and unable to cope with anxiety.

Psychiatrist Hazen Gandy with the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa says he's seeing twice as many kids as 10 years ago.

The hospital has reported an unprecedented spike in emergency room visits for kids in the midst of mental health crises.

In the 2012-13 fiscal year, it reported that 2900 children and teens under 18 sought help, the highest number of pediatric emergency mental health visits in the province.

Gandy says kids aged 12 to 17 arrive after slashing their arms, thighs or bellies with everything from razor blades to the sharp edges of pop cans.

He says self-harming is a symptom of deeper issues such as anxiety or depression that stem from complex causes.

Gandy and other doctors across Canada say many teens lack coping skills, and increased demand for help is stretching health services.

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