4 identification facts
- Self-harm consists of behaviours such as cutting, burning, over-dosing, pinching and a variety of other injurious behaviours causing damage to the skin and body.
- Self-harm is almost always due to the person being stressed or distressed.
- Self-harm can be linked with depression, increased alcohol or drug use, attention deficit disorder and a variety of mental health conditions such as, in a small group of individuals, emotionally unstable personality disorder.
- Having a family member who self-harms increases the chances of the behaviour occurring.
- Cut or burn marks on arm, legs or body.
- Cutting instruments in teenagers belongings.
- Stopping activities that require showing their body or becoming increasingly secretive about their body.
- Blood stains on clothing.
4 steps to assist with the change
- Learn to pick up on warning signs.
Now Click No. 2
- Talk to your teenager – download our PDF ‘Talking to your teenager about self-harm’.
Now Click No. 3
- Keep boundaries but don’t expect your teenager to make change straight away. You may wish to take implements used to self-harm away from immediate or easy reach but give your teenager something else that will help them soothe their stress or distress – for example stress balls, a ‘punch’ cushion, and the opportunity to have a hug. Get them help.
- Your GP should be your first port of call. They can refer you to NHS resources such as CAMHS or to appropriate private practitioners. A psychological or psychiatric assessment to diagnose the proper and suggest appropriate help is essential.
Now Click No. 4
- Self-harm can take a while to change. Relapse at times of change and stress is also possible. Keep supporting your teenager to change. Be hopeful. There are lots of effective psychological treatments that help.