Self-harm is a problem that affects people of all ages. It can be physical and psychological, or a combination of both. Therefore, parents, guardians, and caregivers need to understand why self-harm happens and how to talk about it. Self-harm is any act that causes pain or distress and makes the person feel bad about themselves. Teen mental health treatment is the most effective path to recovering from self-harm.
At Fort Behavioral Health, our team of clinicians and therapists have extensive experience providing top-tier care for adolescents struggling with self-harm and other mental health issues. We pride ourselves on providing high-quality teen mental health treatment. Reach out to us today by filling out our online form or calling Fort Behavioral Health at 844.332.1807.
Why Is Self-Harm Awareness Month Important?
Self-Harm Awareness Month highlights the growing problem of self-harm in adolescents. It offers an opportunity to increase awareness and dialogue around self-harm and decrease the stigma making it possible for more people to receive the care they need to recover.
Talking about the topic will help teens develop self-awareness and feel less alone by illuminating that others experience the same problems. In addition, it is vital to understand that many resources are available for teens struggling with this issue.
What Teen Self-Harm Is and Isn’t
Self-harm is a term used by mental health professionals to describe behavior by people experiencing depression or anxiety and who feel unable to deal with those symptoms on their own. The term commonly refers to cutting oneself or attempting suicide, but there is far more to it.
Self-injury impacts millions of teenagers in the United States. Teens who self-harm may struggle with feelings of shame and guilt. They may also experience depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. In addition, many individuals who engage in self-harm are survivors of abuse, bullying, or neglect.
Self-harm is often misunderstood as an attempt at getting attention; however, this is a dangerous misconception. It encompasses anything that causes physical or psychological harm to yourself or someone else.
There are many different ways to self-harm, including:
- Self-cutting with a knife, razor blade, or other sharp objects
- Pulling hair out
- Burning one’s skin
- Cutting up pictures of oneself
- Hitting oneself in the face
- Banging the head against a wall
- Using drugs or alcohol
- Strangulation or suffocation
- Suicidal ideation or attempts
Self-harm can be highly damaging to your teen’s self-esteem and mental health. Self-harm often begins as a way to cope with the things they don’t like about themselves, like feelings of worthless or not being good enough. Then, like any addiction, it begins to take over.
Talking Self-Harm with Teens
Self-Harm Awareness Month is a time to discuss coping strategies for self-harm and talk with your teen about self-harm. It’s imperative to talk openly with your teen about the risks of self-harm and the importance of open dialogue during Self-Harm Awareness Month and every month of the year.
Talking about self-harm is not easy. Most teen self-injury results from more extensive mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety. In addition, research has definitively shown that blaming “the victim,” which is the person engaging in self-harm, may increase the risk of teens engaging in risky behaviors.
Suppose your teen isn’t ready to talk about it with you yet. Don’t force it, simply communicate and reiterate your presence and support. What is important is that you establish your openness and availability and continue to provide opportunities for dialogue.
Guardians and caregivers should remain aware that talking negatively about suicide may increase the risk of suicide-related behaviors. Instead, speak with your teen about how it feels to be them. Endeavor to understand what they’re going through without projecting your narrative on the situation. Instead, ask open-ended questions, and listen to their responses without judgment to the best of your ability.
Explore Self-Harm Awareness Month at Fort Behavioral Health
At Fort Behavioral Health, our team has extensive experience and expertise when dealing with self-harm in adolescents. As a result, we can provide thorough care and education for teens and their families. With the proper support, recovery is possible. Contact us today online or call us at 844.332.1807.