SOCIAL media and exam pressures have been linked to an massive increase in girls self-harming.

Figures show twice as many girls were being treated in hospital as leading mental health experts said social media could be to blame.

The number of hospital admissions for girls who self-harm jumped from 7,327 in 1997 to 13,463.

And those being treated for attempting an overdose rose more than ten-fold from 249 in 1997 to 2,736 last year, according to the NHS data.

Reacting to the rise, Jon Goldin, vice-chairman of the child and adolescent faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, told The Times: "I think there are a range of factors putting pressure on young children - academic pressure, exam pressure, social media....with fear of missing out and comparing yourself unfavourably to images you see online.

"If you look at social media, my hunch is that girls are probably more sensitive to some of those factors than boys."

Admission numbers for boys self-harming stayed relatively the same from 2,236 in 1997 to 2,332 last year.

The number attempting to overdose jumped from 152 in 1997 to 839 last year.

The NSPCC said it provided 15,376 counselling sessions about self-harm last year, equivalent to 42 per day.

A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care said the figures for admissions did not represent the number of patients treated as some were admitted more than once within the period.

The figures now also include private hospitals.

The department is investing an extra 300 million to provide more help in schools including trained staff to provide faster support to children.