London: In what is being termed the "most comprehensive study" into the problem, a 16-year survey has found that teenagers who suffer from depression or anxiety deliberately harm themselves.
One in every 12 teenagers harms himself or herself, says the study conducted in Australia between 1992 and 2008 and published Thursday by The Lancet, the world's leading general medical journal.
It, however, says that nine out of 10 teenagers who self-harmed had stopped by their late 20s, according to Sky News.
Of 1,800 teenagers questioned, 10 percent of girls and six percent of boys admitted they had deliberately harmed themselves.
Teenagers who suffer from depression or anxiety were six times more likely to self-harm as young adults.
Paul Moran, of London's King's College Institute of Psychiatry, and one of the report's authors, said: "Self-harm is associated with an enormous amount of shame and is often conducted in private. So we think that possibly this is an underestimation of the problem. How big an underestimate we don't know."
Hayley Mills, a student in Leeds, who self-harmed as a teenager, said she was not surprised at how many people were affected by the problem.
"I'd been through something traumatic, and I don't know why I did it. I'd never seen anybody else do it," she said.
"I was 13 and I started by cutting myself and I kept it secret until I was 18," she said.
She tried to commit suicide and was finally given the help she needed. She now hopes to become a nurse and wants to see self-harm awareness taught in schools.