A SURVEY of more than 4,000 pupils has revealed levels of bullying and self harm present across the borough’s schools.

The Health and Well-being Survey conducted by St Helens Council sought to understand issues faced by young people in the borough, for the first time including questions on self harm.

An executive summary of the report - which questioned pupils in years 6, 8 and 10 from 41 primary and nine secondary schools - showed a fifth of secondary school pupils reported they had self harmed or considered it.

St Helens Council added that it showed eight per cent of schoolchildren in years eight and ten were found to have hurt or considered hurting themselves.

The report summary added that 54 per cent of pupils in primary school’s year 6 and a third of secondary school pupils reported being a victim of bullying.

Of those who admitted being bullied, more than half experienced verbal abuse. More than one in ten pupils reported cyber bullying.

Less than half of pupils felt they could talk about their feelings, with the problem increasing with age.

Director of public health at St Helens Council, Liz Gaulton, said: “We take the issues in these surveys seriously and asked questions about self-harm this year as we were aware of there being an increase in reported incidents and wanted to understand how big the problem was.”

The health chief added that trends showing more than two out of five secondary school pupils and a third of primary school pupils drank sports or energy drinks everyday or most days were among the “emerging challenges”.

The fact more than 40 per cent of pupils live with a smoker and that the majority of children eat chocolate or sweets on most days is an ongoing problem.

High numbers of pupils eating breakfast everyday is picked out as another positive, and the vast majority of pupils have never used an e-cigarette.

Councillor Andy Bowden, cabinet member for Public Health and well-being added: “We are also following this up with a ‘democracy debate’ called ‘Happy with who I am’.

“Young people identified mental and emotional well-being as a topic to explore and discuss from their point of view what will help them to be ‘happy’ and cope with what life throws their way.

“Workshops will be happening in October and will help to inform the council and partners what young people think will support them.”

He added: “Not only are we working to improve emotional and mental health services for children and young people alongside our partners the Clinical Commissioning Group but We are also trying to get upstream ensure young people have appropriate coping and resilience in the first place to reduce the numbers needing more specialist services.”