Below is a listing of self-injury help and support resources for those who are self-harming, their family, and friends.
What Parents Can Do To Help and Support Their Teen
Teens who self-injure generally do so because of emotional pain ― not to annoy, anger or manipulate others. Most teens go to great lengths to hide their wounds and scars. Many consider their self-harm to be a deeply shameful secret and dread the consequences of discovery.
Parents must listen to their child and acknowledge their child’s feelings. Your teen needs you to listen without interruption and respond without judgement or criticism so that s/he feels understood. When you validate your child’s feelings, you’re not validating the self-destructive behavior but showing understanding and compassion.
Parents should also serve as role models in the way they deal with stressful situations and traumatic events, how they respond to other people, and by not allowing abuse or violence in the home.
Get your teen professional help. Find a therapist who is experienced working with adolescents, self-injurers, and victims of trauma. Therapeutic approaches, especially dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), help teens learn positive ways to cope with life’s struggles. Once a teen’s patterns of self-inflected violence stabilize, real work can be done on the issues underlying the self-injury. A mental health professional can also diagnose and treat any other behaviors and disorders that may accompany self-injury, such as substance abuse and eating disorders.
Psychological evaluations with an eye toward hospitalization should be avoided unless the teen is clearly a danger to his/her own life or to others. Self-injury is a behavioral issue, not a psychiatric disorder. Teens will be much less likely to be open to parents, doctors, and therapist for help and medical attention if they feel left out of their own healing and recovery treatment.
Parents should take their teen to an emergency room only if the wounds need immediate attention (such as, stitching, cleaning, antibiotics for infection) or if the teen is a danger to herself/himself or others.
Doctors in emergency rooms and urgent-care clinics should be sensitive to the needs of those who come in to have self-inflicted wounds treated. If the the teen is calm, denies suicidal intent, and has a history of self-inflicted violence, the doctor should treat the wounds as they would treat non-self-inflicted injuries. Refusing to give anesthesia for stitches, making disparaging remarks to teens and parents, and treating the teen as an inconvenient nuisance simply further the feelings of invalidation and unworthiness the self-injurer already feels. Read Bill of Rights for People Who Self-Harm >>>
The Scarred Soul: Understanding and Ending Self-Inflicted Violence by Tracy Alderman
This is the first book ― and the best book ― written for the victims of self-inflicted violence and the first to teach them what they can do to stop hurting themselves. The Scarred Soul explores the reasons behind the impulse to self-inflicted harm and shows how to examine its impact on their lives and take steps to overcome the psychological traps that lead to self-inflicted pain. Highly recommended for those who self-injure, family, friends, and mental health professionals.
Self-Injury Help and Support
Door of Hope for Teens Free online and phone support for teenage girls and young women who struggle with self-injury. TEXT or CALL 615-746-7319 or 914-393-1904
Equilibrium User-led self injury awareness organization to help educate and support people who self harm and their family and friends.
LifeSIGNS (Self-Injury Guidance & Network Support) UK-based, user-led voluntary organisation and online community that provides information and support to people of all ages affected by self-injury.
Lysamena Project on Self-Injury Christian-based self-injury resources and information.
National Self-Harm Network UK-based organization that supports survivors, people who self-harm, and their family and friends.
Recover Your Life One of the largest self-harm support communities on the Internet
Self-Injury Outreach & Support (SIOS) International outreach organization providing current information and helpful resources about self-injury to individuals who self-injure, those who have recovered, as well as their caregivers and families, friends, teachers and the health professionals who work with them.
The Cornell Research Program on Self-Injury and Recovery Cornell University’s research program that provides excellent materials for individuals who injure as well as those who live with, care about, and work with them
To Write Love On Her Arms This is a story that began as a response to the story of Renee, a young woman who was suffering and struggling with self-destructive behaviors. It is now an amazing movement and outreach of love that offers hope and is committed to answering the needs of those who struggle with depression, addiction, suicide, and self-injury.