Self harm is misunderstood and often thought of as attention seeking behaviour. This couldn’t be further from the truth. People that self harm will mostly go to great lengths to hide it.
In a way, I was lucky that I learned to control it but this took many many many years and a distinct lack of help – including being told by a psychiatrist on an inpatient ward that it was “child’s play”, “didn’t I like that sort of attention?” ” you haven’t actually tried to kill yourself have you?” and I pretty much dealt with it alone.
It holds a lot of stigmas and people often don’t know how to react to it but the fact is the statistics are on the rise and young people are getting younger…
Once started it’s something that difficult to stop and very easily becomes an ingrained and “go to” coping mechanism.
My advice to anyone struggling is to speak to someone – whoever that may be – someone you trust, a helpline- anyone that will allow you to speak without judgment.
This is a very hard thing to do but it’s a brave and vital step to getting the help you need and the longer it lives in secrecy the harder things can become. It can be stopped. I didn’t think it could after years of not getting any real support for it, but you can come through it ♡
To any parents or carers I would say that just listening is so important, don’t judge, don’t assume they are trying to end their lives – while the self harming may be a way of expressing that this is how they feel the action of self harm itself doesn’t necessarily mean suicidal intent – it does mean there are overwhelming emotions and trying to get to the bottom of those is important and so talking, listening , and kindness are so important. Trying to get the person just to stop and focussing all the energy around that has the danger of pushing them away and making them less open and so supporting them emotionally and getting relevant help are vital.
Don’t judge people who self harm. Don’t assume their reasons for doing it. Listen. Be kind. It’s a very difficult time and words are important.
I hope that schools take note of the new statistics and mental health becomes spoken about it schools as part of a curriculum. Mental health issues are ever growing and children are getting younger.
I hope that children will be given the relevant knowledge and understanding to understand what is going on with themselves and also their peers!