Self-harming behavior involves causing intentional harm to oneself or others, such as cutting, burning, or overdose. Self-harm may begin innocently and gradually become more severe. Mental health treatment for teens is the most effective way to address self-harm.
If you suspect a teen you love may be engaging in self-harming behavior, don’t wait until it’s too late. Instead, contact Fort Behavioral Health at 844.332.1807 or complete our online contact form. We provide comprehensive mental health treatment for teens to help young people heal from the effects of mental health disorders.
Identifying Signs of Teen Self-Harm
It’s tempting yet dangerous to dismiss signs of teen self-harm in your teen as a phase or a curiosity. However, when self-harm becomes more pervasive, it may also indicate that your teen struggles with a serious problem.
Self-harming behaviors can range from minor to life-threatening. Some teens use self-harm to release emotions; others may do so because they seek relief from an overwhelming feeling. Evidence suggests that self-harm far outpaces traditional suicide attempts for teens. In addition, certain medical conditions such as depression, schizophrenia, and substance abuse may trigger self-harm behaviors.
Some signs of teen self-harm include:
- Self-injury, such as cutting or burning
- Overdosing on drugs or alcohol
- High levels of anxiety and depression
- Avoiding social interactions with family and friends
- Hiding emotions such as sadness, anger, and fear from friends and family members
- Refusing to eat
It’s imperative to recognize self-harm behaviors for what they are: signs that someone requires help. If you suspect a teen you love is self-harming, then it’s prudent to seek out the advice of a mental health professional as soon as possible. It is also vital to talk with your teen directly and openly about the matter.
How to Talk About Adolescent Self-Harm with Teens
Self-harm is a universal experience causing many people to suffer. Talking about it can reduce the stigma and lead to healthier living. Begin the conversation by first asking your teen if they are ready for this conversation. If they aren’t, respect their need to prepare, but don’t wait too long. It may be helpful to set a date and time.
After the conversation begins, don’t be afraid to ask open questions that seem like they may be uncomfortable. If you hear answers that you don’t like, refrain from judgment or the threat of punishment. It may be helpful to articulate upfront that you are here to help, not punish. Most importantly, don’t become perturbed, put off, or triggered if your teen becomes agitated. Instead, it will be most productive if you do your best to remain calm and kind throughout the conversation.
If your teen does not want to talk, don’t force them. Instead, suggest other options like seeing a therapist or seeking mental health treatment. Ask if there’s anything else you should know before taking a break from the conversation or talking more about this topic. Then, be prepared with information and options to help your teen and yourself through this difficult time.
Find Relief for Adolescent Self-Harm at Fort Behavioral Health
Self-harm is a growing problem. Unfortunately, it is a severe issue that affects thousands of young people every year. It can be challenging to identify the signs of self-harm and initiate conversation around it. It is vital that you have open discussions with the teens you love early and often.
If you need support conducting these conversations or want to learn more about teen mental health treatment services, then Fort Behavioral Health is here for you. We have a wealth of resources and a world-class team ready, willing, and able to support you and your family. Contact us today by filling out our online form or calling 844.332.1807.