What is self-harm?

  • Self-harm or self-injury refers to hurting oneself on purpose.
  • This can be done in a variety of ways. Some common methods include:
    • Cutting- usually with a razor blade, but can be with any sharp object
    • Burning- could be with a lighter, but also erasers, etc.
    • Picking- picking one’s scabs in order to prevent them from fully healing, picking/pulling hair

Why do people self-harm?

  • Generally indicates a lack of coping skills
  • It is not necessarily a mental illness, but is often associated with some form of mental illness such as depression, anxiety, etc.
  • Occurs when an individual has an overwhelming amount of emotion (anger, stress, sadness, etc.) and does not know how to deal with it
    • Self-injury provides a release of that emotion

Where do people self-harm?

  • Places that can be easily covered
  • Common places include: upper legs (thighs), arms (both upper and wrists), stomach

What is a common age for someone who self-harms?

  • Usually occurs in the teenage and young adult years
  • Can also occur later in life

How do I know if my child is self-harming without catching them?

  • Long sleeves/long pants in warm weather
  • Unexplainable scars on thighs, wrists, arms
  • Child spends a lot of time isolating

What should I do if I know my child is self-harming?

  • Remove/hide sharp objects in your home
  • Monitor your child or check in with them if they are in their rooms alone frequently- isolation is the perfect opportunity to self-harm
  • If self-harm continues, talk with your child about seeking help