Self-harm is usually identified by regular self-inflicted injuries that are noted in various parts of the body.
The first part of a professionals job is to increase motivation to change. Its really important to manage self-harm early because it can become habitual and increase in intensity. A good starting point is to explore what benefits the person sees in self-harming and to ascertain negative reasons for why it would be helpful to make positive change. Once motivation to change is established, CYP can be referred to the ‘Why Change?’ part of the stem4 website and to our ‘Calm Harm’ app whilst they wait specialist treatment.
To build up your assessment skills and to learn about prevention and evidence based treatments ask to be on our ‘mailing list’ for our professionals conferences.
Some benefits to self-harm
“It helps me calm.”
“It lets others know that everything is not alright.”
“It takes my mind off upsetting things.”
Some negatives to self-harm
“It makes me feel alone.”
“Others think I’m weird.”
“I hate the marks it leaves on my skin.”
“I can’t wear revealing clothes.”
“It doesn’t help me sort out my real problem.”
- Self-harm minimisation
- Educate on sterilising equipment, how to prevent infection, using ‘safe’ implements, teach basic first aid.
Now Click No. 2
- Encourage the Child or Young Person to take positive action to break the circle of self-harm. To do this,
- Try and help them think about what their self-harm is expressing.
- If it’s COMFORTING suggest they do alternative comforting actions instead – for example, have a bath, cuddle someone or something, do something relaxing, listen to some music.
- If it RELEASES FEELINGS, recommend some other outlets of feeling release instead – for example, talk to someone, exercise, write down how you feel, draw your emotion.
- If it RELEASES TENSION, suggest another way to release tension instead – for example listen to some very loud music, run on the spot as fast as you can, rip some paper. PRACTICE for at least 5 minutes.
- DISTRACT from the temptation to self-harm. Do something – go for a walk, give yourself something difficult to do. Sit it out – the urge will pass.
Now Click No. 3
Calm Harm App
Now Click No. 4
- Encourage maintaining the strategy that works over the long term. Keep regular contact to monitor.
- Try it. Give yourself a seven day period to put into action. If you have success, try another seven days. Build up to 30 days.
Harmless is a user led organisation that provides a range of services about self-harm including support, information, training and consultancy to people who self-harm, their friends and families and professionals.
Support individuals who self-harm to reduce emotional distress and improve their quality of life.
YoungMinds is the UK’s leading charity committed to improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people.
Mind provides advice and support to anyone experiencing a mental health problem.