There are many different reasons for youth to self-harm. If they feel numb, they can self- harm to feel alive. If they are angry, they can self harm to punish someone else. It can take many different forms – anything from cutting to unsafe sex. The most common reason people start self-harming is to reduce emotional distress. And in the immediate, it works. That’s why self-harm is so addicting.
WARNING: We don’t recommend kids going onto online forums and talking about self-harm. In our experience it seems to trigger the urge to self harm, teach them, increase their options of how to do it, and how to keep it secret longer. Having said that there are many online forums for kids to get plugged into. If a young person is involved in online forums anyway, it’s important that they plug into a positive forum focused on health and help. www.recoveryourlife.com provides some less negative and more healthy online exchanges.
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.
This website has a number of useful and informative resources. There a videos about supporting those affected by suicide or struggling with suicidal thoughts as well as youth talking about how to prevent suicide and honour life. There are numerous ideas for Aboriginal youth and those working with Aboriginal youth. Continue reading Link: Aboriginal Youth Support→
“Straight Talk about Death For Teenagers -How to Cope with Losing Someone You Love” by Earl A. Grollman
The title doesn’t lie. This book was a shoot from the hip, no sugar coating, direct talk about the realities of grief. It didn’t step softly around the harsh truths of grief, often saying blunt stand-alone sentences like, “The person you loved is dead.” and “They are never coming back.” or “Every love story eventually ends in death.”
“When A Friend Dies- A Book for Teens About Grieving & Healing” by Marilyn E. Gootman, Ed.D
I sat down and read this book in about 20 minutes. That’s not the way this book is supposed to be used. “When A Friend Dies” is written for teenagers, to help them as they ask… Continue reading “When a Friend Dies”→
Amazon description: “You”ll hear stories from teens and young adults who struggle with the urge to hurt themselves, and you”ll learn to recognize the signs of self-injury. In addition, counselor and professor, Marv Penner will help… Continue reading “Hope and Healing for Kids Who Cut”→
This book is about understanding self-injury and learning how to heal the emotional wounds. Here’s what one online reviewer says: “Skillfully woven together with empathetic insight into the lives and minds… Continue reading “Healing the Hurt Within”→
“Born for Love” by Miaia Szalavitz and Bruce Perry MD PH.D
This is a fascinating study of how we are designed to love and be loved – and especially the impact of developing empathy in the achieving of that. Empathy is the ability to see and feel the world from others perspective and… Continue reading “Born for Love”→