Self-harm becomes an addiction because it works – in the short term. Quitting cold-turkey is very difficult because of this. Be sure to respond non-judgmentally and be willing to walk the long road to recovery with your youth as they have their ups and downs. The “replacement” list below offers a few ideas to help you and the youth compose her/his own list of “replacements”, to offer themselves options when the self harm urge takes over.
There are a number of solid resources to help us get a better understanding of the minds and hearts of teens who self-harm, and how we can help.
Here are a few:
To Write Love on Her Arms – The story and intent behind this movement makes it a good place to start. Their blogs on self harm are not focused on treatment but on inspiration and understanding of those who are in this battle.
Cycle of Self-harm – An excellent diagram explain the cycle that many who self-injure find themselves in over and over again. Taken from Healing the Hurt Within: Understand Self-injury and Self-harm, and Heal the Emotional Wounds , and great resource to help the youth worker know where to start.
Helpguide – These pages offer a short yet comprehensive overview that looks at questions like “why does it work” and “what can I do?” It also includes myths, warning signs, and helpful links.