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Understanding self harm
May 14th 2015 @ 12am AEST
Self harm refers to when a person deliberately hurts their body. About 10% of adolescents say they have self harmed at some point in their lives. A young person may self harm for many different reasons, but self harm occurs most commonly in response to intense emotional pain or a sense of being overwhelmed by negative feelings, thoughts or memories.
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
28th Aug, 12:03 pm
Kristal eheadspace: Hi everyone! Welcome to today’s session where we are hoping to give you the tools and information to better understand self harm and in turn be able to feel more empowered to support your young people. My name’s Kristal, I’ll be helping to facilitate the conversation today and I’d like to introduce you to the people who will be participating today. From eheadspace we have Viv one of our family therapists and mental health clinicians Caitlin, Tam and Ange. From Headspace School Support we have Jess and most importantly, we have Kieran from hY NRG (our youth reference group). It’s really helpful for Kieran to provide the perspective of a young person as for parents one of the most important supportive roles they can play is being interested and keen to understand the perspective of their young people.
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
28th Aug, 12:03 pm
Kristal eheadspace: As today’s session is on self harm I think it’s helpful to define self harm, so while you’re sending us through your questions (and we get our fingers warmed up to start answering them) I’m going to pop in some information I prepared earlier.
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
28th Aug, 12:03 pm
ristal eheadspace: There are a lot of misconceptions about self harm, which we define as self effected harm or disfigurement of a socially unaccepted nature (this varies by region and culture). Those who engage in self harm are deliberately doing physical harm to themselves in ways that are not intended to end their lives. Common ways that young people self harm are by cutting, burning, pinching, scratching and small over doses. It is important to note the difference between self harm and suicidal behaviour, most often self harm is not suicidal in nature or intent. Sometimes, however, people who self harm also struggle with suicidal thoughts.
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
28th Aug, 12:03 pm
Kristal eheadspace: I’d also like to highlight, that people who self harm do not usually do this for attention. In reality people who self harm usually feel a lot of shame, guilt and self hatred because of the self harm. There are lots of reasons why people self harm, but the most common reason is that self harm helps them to cope with overwhelming emotions/thoughts/memories that they may feel unable to express in other ways. Self harm can be very addictive because of the helpful role it plays for helping to cope with those overwhelming things. Self harm can be reduced over time as people learn other ways to express themselves, or other ways of coping.
Participant
Participant
28th Aug, 12:04 pm
Comment From Guest
hi - Is there audio to this webinar? Jack
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
28th Aug, 12:04 pm
Ange: Hi Jack - No there is no audio but the event will be available to review after the session
Participant
Participant
28th Aug, 12:04 pm
Comment From Guest
Hi this is my first webchat
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
28th Aug, 12:04 pm
Caitlin eheadspace: Hi there, welcome! We hope we can help you today. Feel free to ask us a question!
Participant
Participant
28th Aug, 12:04 pm
Comment From Linsey
Thanks! Your comment is awaiting moderation.
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
28th Aug, 12:04 pm
Kristal eheadspace: We've got lots of questions coming in - we're just working on some answers and will get them posted shortly.
Participant
Participant
28th Aug, 12:05 pm
Comment From Guest
Would really like some suggestions on how to parent my teen that consistently self harms she is on medication for depression and anxiety and is seeing a psychiatrist at headspace. Have tried to understand but seem to be betting it all wrong!
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
28th Aug, 12:05 pm
Ange: Hi Guest. Thats a real dilema and very difficult to manage. An issue as complex as self-injury cannot be adequately covered in a session such as this. The most important messages we want to give you here is:
• One of the most helpful things that you can do is to remain calm. To do this you need to get your own emotions under control first.
• DON'T IGNORE the behaviour, and
• DON'T PANIC - self-injury CAN be treated
• Seek professional help, you could contact eheadspace for advice or speak with your GP
• Offer support to your child (avoid saying to “just stop doing it” as due to its addictive nature this is often very difficult and that attitude can alienate your child)
• Ask questions about what they might have been feeling at the time
• Show belief and understanding – tell them that you believe in their ability to work through their emotions and find other ways of coping. Reinforce that you understand (or try to understand) the emotions behind their actions and that you would like them to have other ways of dealing with those emotions.
• Encourage them to take care of the wounds themselves and to let you know if they are concerned that they have harmed more than usual or if they’re worried that the wounds might need medical attention
• Self care: if you are supporting someone else it can be easy to forget to take care of yourself. It’s important to eat healthy food, exercise and get enough sleep. Make sure you are not just focusing on one thing and still do activities that you enjoy. Take a break from helping by asking others to step in.
Participant
Participant
28th Aug, 12:05 pm
Comment From Guest
Self harming is the only way to calm myself down to a relaxed state most of the time. Sometimes I even like doing it is that wrong?
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
28th Aug, 12:05 pm
Caitlin eheadspace: It's not uncommon for people to hurt themselves to feel better. It's also not uncommon for people to say that they like the feeling of hurting themseleves, even if they identify that it isn't helpful in the long-run. So it's certainly not "wrong" to feel that way. It's really great that we have the perspective of a young person today - What do you find that your parents do is helpful? Is there anything that do that isn't so helpful for you?
Participant
Participant
28th Aug, 12:05 pm
Comment From Guest
I'm interested in information about self harm occurances in Primary school aged children. do you have any data around this?
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
28th Aug, 12:05 pm
Ange: Hi there, we don't have any specific information on Primary aged chilren but research done within schools in 2004 suggests that 5-6% of Australian young people were self harming each year. Although we don’t know exactly how many young people are self harming, it is clear that it is spoken about much more frequently within school and universities and that there is more research being completed to understand what does and doesn’t help.
Self-harm is more common after the onset of puberty [6]. The average age at which self-harm first occurs is 12-14 years (7) and, in adolescents, it is more common among girls than boys (8). However, self-harm can occur in anyone, regardless of their age, gender, socio-economic status or culture/ethnicity.
Participant
Participant
28th Aug, 12:06 pm
Comment From School Counsellor
This has unfortunately become a common ocurrance at my school. I am working closely with parents to help support the children at home. I am asking the same question they have asked me. What are some other effective alternatives to help these children regulate such overwhelming emotions and how can parents help implement these?
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
28th Aug, 12:06 pm
Jess - School Support: Hi school counsellor - thanks for your great question. Unfortunately this is becoming increasingly common, with school staff becoming more aware of it in recent years. It is really important that a young person engaging in self-harm is accessing professional support from a mental health service. If the young person provides consent, it can be great for parents/carers, school counsellors and young people to work together with their mental health service to discuss ways of implementing alternatives.
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
28th Aug, 12:06 pm
Viv: I think not being judgemental about the young person's behaviour is really important . Also trying to understand what meaning the self harm has for the young person is good to ask about .It seems promoting and teaching some other self soothing strategies seems to be helpful to young people.. mindfulness in the moment around recognising the need to self harm and being able to tolerate the distressing feelings and using distraction techniques often works
Participant
Participant
28th Aug, 12:06 pm
Comment From Guest
Thanks will give it a go
Participant
Participant
28th Aug, 12:06 pm
Comment From Simone
I think my sister is cutting herself, but I'm not sure how to bring it up with her. Any ideas?
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
28th Aug, 12:06 pm
Tam eheadspace: Hi Simone, thank you for asking that question, it's a really important one. It can be really tough to be in your situation, sounds like you are really worried about your sister but not quite sure how to let her know. This is understandable because we know that many people who self-harm try hard to keep it private for a number of reasons, including that they might have feelings of guilt or shame about their self-harm. One thing we tell people is to try and understand your own feelings at this time, it can be normal to feel a range of emotions, even things like anger. Then, when you are feeling ready and have some time to talk, calmly tell your sister that you are worried about her and ask her if she wants to talk. This lets her know that you are concerned, but it gives her some control over what is happening. It can be good to try and understand the feelings that are leading someone to self-harm, so being open to a discussion about this with your sister might be helpful for her. We will post some more info later in this session that might be helpful for you too. Take care of you too Simone.
Participant
Participant
28th Aug, 12:06 pm
Comment From Guest
Hi there both of my teenage sons have started self harming. My 13 year old who has Turrets did so when he was experiencing depression and now my 16 year is doing it as he is stressed with year 11 school commitments and other stresses eg relationships with his girlfriend and father and possibly me. Both of my boys see counsellors and I am trying my hardest to help them and my 13 year old is responding to that help but my 16 year old is keeping his feelings very close to the chest. Do you have any advice on how to help him open up to me or should I just hope that the counsellor he is talking to does the job?
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
28th Aug, 12:06 pm
Ange: Hi there, It's tricky trying not to over-react but also not under-react to self harming behaviours. I would suggest you keep the door open to chat with your son calmly and openly about what's happening for him. This way it can be really helpful for him to come to you if he feels that he is more distressed than usual.
I would also suggest you have a chat with the counsellor he is seeing to ensure that you can support your son in a way that is consistent with the counsellor's treatment plan. You are doing a great job!
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
28th Aug, 12:06 pm
Kristal eheadspace: Kieran, do you have any thoughts on this stuff? I think it's really important to get a young person's perspective on this too.
Participant
Participant
28th Aug, 12:07 pm
Comment From Donna
Hi my question is my 15 yr old is a cutter and has run away and we are trying to ger her back. i am doing up and agreement as suggested and in it I have put that while i dont condone cutting and wish that she would try another option i will as a parent be there to help heal her wounds and support her but I dont wnat to encourage this behavoiur
Participant
Participant
28th Aug, 12:07 pm
Comment From Donna
i feel like when i am supporting her with this behaviour that I am condoning it. I buy bio oil and band aids and my other daughter and I tend the wounds but everything inside me is screaming this is wrong and am I supproting this?
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
28th Aug, 12:07 pm
Viv: Hi Donna
it sounds like a very tough and stressful situation for you and I like the idea of having a contract or agreement with your daughter and about how to best support her. With professional support and help in learning alternative strategies to attend to her need to self harm overtime it usually shifts the self-harming behaviours. Quite often where the self harming behaviour has become part of their coping strategy ( like the young person almost forming a relationship with their self harm ) it does require ongoing persistent support .
It also requires the parent to find ways of managing their own distress and sense of helplessness in making a difference in the short term. It is also important that the young person be recognised for who they are and look for the small things that they are managing ok. Perhaps it is important to se your daughter as someone who is struggling with aspects of her life and her self harm is something that she struggles with- may be try not to see her as a "cutter" .. I think being matter of fact about attending to the cuts is Ok . Although I can understand the dilemma about fearing that you are condoning it - May be seeing it as her not being ready to change these bevahiours for now can give you a sense of hope for change in the future
Participant
Participant
28th Aug, 12:07 pm
Comment From Guest
I have a 15 year old daughter that has not self harmed for about a year but now continually threatens me with if I don't allow her to do something or I won't give into her demands she threatens to self harm. So I have just been giving in to let her get her own way as I don't want to go down that road again.
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
28th Aug, 12:07 pm
Caitlin eheadspace: Firstly, that's excellent that your daughter has been able to find other ways to cope with distress for such a long time - self-harm can be a difficult thing to stop for many young people. It sounds like you're in a really tough position currently - wanting to keep your child safe from hurting herself and also wanting to set limits and boundaries on her behaviour. It's important to remember that you are her parent and so that means continuining to set limits on her behaviour. Allowing her to do whatever she wants whenever she wants can be unhelpful in the long-run. Parenting can be such a delicate, tough balance between boundaries and warmth. We would encourage you to have a discussion with your daughter about what is happeneing for her and to let her know that you are worried about her, but that you are still her parent at the end of the day. We would also encourage you to offer your child support and that she can contact helplines such as eheadspace or Lifeline if she would like some more support.
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
28th Aug, 12:08 pm
Participant
Participant
28th Aug, 12:08 pm
Comment From Guest
Ok that is good to know as it is so very distressing when you see your child in pain.
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
28th Aug, 12:08 pm
Kristal eheadspace: That's so true - I think when parents are aware that their child is self harming it is really distressing. You've loved and cared for that child for so long and you've protected and supported them, and then they're hurting themselves.
If you are in this situation, it is important to give yourself permission to feel any emotion that comes up as no emotion is ‘wrong’. Also, accepting your emotions is a good way to model healthy reactions for your child. However, it is also important not to act based on these first reactions, but to take time to process strong emotions (away from your child) and then come back and build a collaborative plan of action with your child. It is also important to understand that no one is to ‘blame’ in this situation.
•Offer support to your child (avoid saying to “just stop doing it” as due to its addictive nature this is often very difficult and that attitude can alienate your child)
•Ask questions about what they might have been feeling at the time
•Show belief and understanding – tell them that you believe in their ability to work through their emotions and find other ways of coping. Reinforce that you understand (or try to understand) the emotions behind their actions and that you would like them to have other ways of dealing with those emotions.
•Encourage them to take care of the wounds themselves and to let you know if they are concerned that they have harmed more than usual or if they’re worried that the wounds might need medical attention.
Another really important thing for parents is to make sure you prioritise your own self care: if you are supporting someone else it can be easy to forget to take care of yourself. It’s important to eat healthy food, exercise and get enough sleep. Make sure you are not just focusing on one thing and still do activities that you enjoy. Take a break from helping by asking others to step in.
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
28th Aug, 12:08 pm
Kristal eheadspace: Thanks Imogen - I think that's really helpful.
Participant
Participant
28th Aug, 12:09 pm
Comment From Imogen
You can still support with understanding I don't know many different ways I tried to explain it to my parents they just couldn't understand however once you accept this where the person is at and journey along side them being compassionate and assisting to find answers will be so much more fruitful this does not mean it's easy it will be a long hard slog but you can
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
28th Aug, 12:09 pm
Ange: Hi - that's a really good question and it can be really frustrating as a parent, trying to prevent your child from self harming but there are often reasons why people self harm and these can be different for different people.
Some common reasons that people tell us are:
• get relief from overwhelming negative emotions such as anger, frustration, sadness or loneliness
• help them to feel ‘something’, when they would normally feel numb or ‘not really alive’
• punish themselves - some young people carry a belief from past trauma or abuse that they are essentially ‘bad’ and need to be punished
Trying to build trust with your son and having open, non-judgemental discussions about what's going on may be more helpful for him. Trying to understand the purpose of his self harming behaviour may be really helpful for you both.
It may also help to ask his mental health team what strategies they think would be helpful for both of you.
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
28th Aug, 12:09 pm
Participant
Participant
28th Aug, 12:09 pm
Comment From Guest
I have tried to remove all things that my son uses to self-harm (scissors, knives, lighters) but he actively seeks them out again and I can see him finding them and taking them to his room to later use. Is there anything I can do to help prevent this? He has a mental health team but self harming is low on their list of issues to resolve.
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
28th Aug, 12:09 pm
Tam eheadspace: Hi Meg, thank you for your question. I think it's important to acknowledge that when your daughter starts at the new school, there will most likely be times when she does become nervous about what other kids think about her scars. Perhaps it might be good to think about how to support your daughter when these feelings come up. I wonder if your daughter has some ideas about what supports or strategies might be helpful during these times? One strategy might be to have some long sleeved items of clothing for her to wear. Another important thing would be to identify a key support person at the new school so that your daughter has someone she can go at talk to whenever she needs some more support. This could be a teacher on the wellbeing team or a school counsellor, Make sure you also take care of yourself during this period of transition Meg and reach out for some more support like you have done here if you feel this would be helpful.
Participant
Participant
28th Aug, 12:10 pm
Comment From Meg
My daughter is starting in a new school next term and she has scars from previous self harming. She is really nervous about what the other kids might think. How can I and the school best support her so she doesn't feel this way?
Participant
Participant
28th Aug, 12:10 pm
Comment From Donna
ive stopped hiding sharp objects because she will get something else.
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
28th Aug, 12:10 pm
Jess - School Support: Hi Donna, sometimes that can be the best thing to do. Young people in distress can often find alternative methods. It is important to also look after yourself during this difficult time by seeking support from professional services. It might be really helpful for you to have someone to talk to yourself.
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
28th Aug, 12:10 pm
Participant
Participant
28th Aug, 12:10 pm
Comment From Martha
My 13 year old daughter has been self harming for the past year. She comes from a loving supportive family background. I am struggling with feelings of quilt as a parent. She is seeing a psychologist, school councillor. Would a psychiatrist be helpful?
Participant
Participant
28th Aug, 12:11 pm
Comment From Mark
Are there links to self harm and suicide? My friend does it but I'm not sure he's doing it to end his life.
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
28th Aug, 12:11 pm
Caitlin eheadspace: Hey Mark, most people who self-harm do it to cope with overwhelming feelings rather to end their life. We do know, however, that there is an increased risk of suicide in people who deliberately hurt themselves. If you have concerns about your friend, one of the most helpful things you can do is to let him know you are concerned about him and that you are there to help. Ask your friend if he has been thinking about suicide and if he has made any plans. It's important to keep in mind that talking about suicide will not make him take action. Asking shows you care - it will him talk about his feelings and plans. If he has made a plan to end his life, check if he can carry out this plan - does he have a time, place or method? Do what you can to keep him safe by removing access to these items. Don't agree to keep his plan a secret, even if he asks you to. And don't assume that he will get better without help or that he will seek help on his own - it can be pretty tough and scary to reach our for support. You can contact the Psychiatric Emergency Team at the local hospital and the police on 000. Tell them that smoeone you care about is suicidal, has made a plan, and you fear for their safety. If your friend hasn't made any specific plans, you can still help him get help, for example by encouraging him to make an appointment with his GP or to call a support line like eheadspace, Beyond Blue or Lifeline. It's important to take care of yourself too - it can be difficult to support someone who is thinking about ending their life.
Participant
Participant
28th Aug, 12:11 pm
Comment From Linda
Thanks! Your comment is awaiting moderation.
Participant
Participant
28th Aug, 12:11 pm
Comment From Kieran
I think whether you are someone experiencing self-harm personally or someone close to you, how you frame it can be really important. Many people feel guilt, shame or other negative feelings toward themself on top of whatever made them want to self-harm in the first place, and whilst self-harm is something we want to be able to overcome, it's not useful to think of it as wrong, then you're kind of stressing about your response to stress, right? What's most important in my experience is to avoid things thath might add any extra stress or anxiety to the situation. As a friend or relative this might be expecting to be able 'fix' things as soon as self-harm becomes apparent, or expecting someone to open up to you straight away on a personal matter, especially if your relationship doeesn't already involve doing that. Be patient, offer support but don't force it on people, the most important thing is that someone is there for the individual who is self-harming, IF they want to utlise them. This may involve recognising that you might not be the best person to do that. As soemone self-harming, or feeling inclined to do so, it's important that you forgive yourself, it is ok to feel like self-harming, and anyone who tells you it's not ok to feel that way is not worth listening to on the topic. If you can find a way to think about self-harm that acknowledges and accepts it as a reality, without judging it or the person involved - and the temptation will almost always be to judge - then you will be enabling the conditions in which the person (or yourself) can recover. This does not mean professional help is not required, but it does make seeking further assistance easier for everybody involved.
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
23rd Oct, 11:28 am
Ange: How can parents know it’s happening?
Most often parents and carers are the last people to know that their child is self harming. Young people tend to confide in a close friend who they hold to secrecy. This obviously leaves the friend in a tough position where they are worried about the self harm, but equally worried about losing their friendship.
A few weeks ago we did a live info session on early warning signs and how parents can get help if they’re concerned about their young people – we really recommend having a read over that information which you can find using this link:
Most parents can tell when something is out of the ordinary, but there are also signs that suggest a young person might be experiencing a mental health problem. These are new, noticeable and persistent changes in the young person, lasting at least a few weeks, including:
• Not enjoying, or not wanting to be involved in things that they would normally enjoy
• Changes in appetite or sleeping patterns
• Being easily irritated or angry for no reason
• Finding that their performance at school, TAFE, university or work is not as good as it should be or as it once was
• Involving themselves in risky behaviour that they would usually avoid, like taking drugs or drinking too much alcohol
• Issues with their concentration
• Seeming unusually stressed, worried, down or crying for no reason
• Expressing negative, distressing, bizarre or unusual thoughts
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
28th Aug, 12:12 pm
Caitlin eheadspace: We often receive calls and emails from parents who have just found out that their chidl is self-harming. It can be a very emotionally overwhelming experience to realise that your son or daughter is deliberately hurting themself. Parents often have feelings similar to grief and loss reactions including disbelief, denial, anger, and guilt. More intense feelings such as embarrassment, failure, shame, disgust, and powerless can also arise. If you are in this situation, it is important to give yourself permission to feel any emotion that comes up since no emotion is "wrong". Accepting your emotions can be a very helpful way to model helpful reactions for your child. However, it is important to take some time to acknowledge and process these strong emotions before acting on them immediately. Once you feel more settled come back to your child and build a collaborative plan of action. It is also important to remember that no-one is to "blame". As a parent of a child in distress, you may benefit from seeking some professional support so that you can have a therapeutic space to learn to cope with your own feelings, and how to best manage what is going on for you and your family.
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
28th Aug, 12:12 pm
Viv: I thought I may share my thoughts in working with many families and young people with a variety of issues and self harm being one of the issues over the years - adopting a supportive , non judgemental approach and communicating to the young person that you are interested in their care and seeking some support for all of you as a family is likely to be helpful. If the young person is resisting any help it may still be helpful for yourself as a parent to seek some help about how to best talk with the young person- like Kieran said in his post they way a conversation is had with the young person can be critical in whether they will trust their parent enough to continue to be open and seek help and support
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
28th Aug, 12:13 pm
Kristal eheadspace: Hey Linda, great question! While self harm is most common in adolescents (12-25ish) for some adults it continues to be a way to cope with distress, memories and emotions. Self harm is often a valuable tool for people as it helps them to "keep going". The shame and stigma attached to it makes it something that is deeply private and often hidden. It's helpful to know that self harm is "cureable" (and Tam is writing up some info about that).
Participant
Participant
28th Aug, 12:13 pm
Comment From Linda
Is it common for adults to self-harm, or is it mainly prevalent amongst younger people i.e. teenagers - mid 20's?
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
28th Aug, 12:13 pm
Viv: Many of you have posted comments about what to do - the important thing is to hang in there with your young person - mostly things do get better - hold the long term picture in mind
Participant
Participant
28th Aug, 12:13 pm
Comment From Guest
Hi, I stopped self-harm about a year and a half ago however since then continue to struggle with staying focused and not relying on self-harm as a coping mechanism, even though i am no longer depressed. Does it ever really go away especially in tough times and how can manage it better?
Participant
Participant
28th Aug, 12:13 pm
Comment From Ally
Hi, i actively stopped self-harming about a year and a half ago and still to this day continue to struggle with self-harm thoughts, even though i am no longer depressed. Although it is much better now it can pop up in rough times. Are there any things i can do to improve this? and how i deal with opening up to people about it? as i still avoid talking about it and tend to hide scars still
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
28th Aug, 12:13 pm
Tam eheadspace: Hi Ally and Guest, thank you for this question, it's a really important one. Firstly, I want to say how hard it can be to stop self-harming, this takes strength and it's important to acknowledge this was a big step forward. Well done for this. Thinking about self-harm even after you have stopped is quite a normal experience for young people to go through. Because you have used self-harm as a coping strategy in the past, it makes sense that it would be easy to think about using it again during a tough time. It sounds like it might be helpful to have some other coping strategies as alternatives to self-harm and perhaps a mental health professional could help with this. For example, a mental health professional may be able to work with you using Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, which teaches how to identify and challenge unhelpful and rigid thinking patterns and habits, and find new ways of coping. Well done for your progress so far and it's good to see you reaching out for some more support.
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
28th Aug, 12:13 pm
Participant
Participant
28th Aug, 12:14 pm
Comment From Sally
Good on you Ally!
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
28th Aug, 12:14 pm
Viv: I also wanted to let you know that we have FAF specialists that work at eheadspace that you could book in an appointment with them- it provides an opportunity to talk through more in depth the issues your young person is struggling with and how to best approach the situation - you can ring 1800650890 or jump on the website an seek a chat or an appointment - you can also send an email that we will respond to
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
28th Aug, 12:15 pm
Kristal eheadspace: It’s been a great session today. I hope it’s been interesting and informative for you. Self harm is extremely confronting for parents, it’s so hard to know that the child you’ve cared for and love so much is hurting themselves and that they’re doing this on purpose. If there’s a take home message from today I think it would be “talk with your young people” be interested in hearing things from their perspective rather than talking “at” them and telling them your perspective. Let them know that you’ve read along today and that you were hoping to get more information so you could understand things better. They may not say they appreciate this, but most young people tell us that when they know their loved ones are trying to understand them they experience that as loving and supportive. I’d also encourage you to let them know that you’re aware that they might not want to talk about self harm with you, or show you any harm that they have done, but that you’re there to support them and love them and that you want them to know that if they ever self harm and it’s more than usual, or they’re worried about the harm that they can come to you and you will help them to take care of it. Whether that help is helping them to clean or dress some wounds, or taking them for medical attention. Having an open and accepting attitude, even in the face of those emotions you feel about the self harm, will hopefully mean that your young people feel able to come to you and open up.
These pdfs are really helpful resources about self harm and might answer any other questions we haven’t got to.
If you have more questions about self harm, or if you’re needing more personal advice in order to support your young person you can call eheadspace on 1800 650 890 or access us via the website: https://www.eheadspace.org.au/get-help/past-live-info-sessions/
Please remember that this live info session is accessible (probably from tomorrow) online via this link: . And our older sessions are also available now on the same link
Thank you for joining us today. Thank you to our panel: Viv, Caitlin, Tamsen, Ange and Jess. And a massive thanks to Kieran for joining us, as I said earlier – it’s so helpful to have a young person’s perspective.
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
28th Aug, 12:15 pm
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
28th Aug, 12:15 pm
Kristal eheadspace: We'll finish off with Kieran's perspective :)
Participant
Participant
28th Aug, 12:16 pm
Comment From Kieran
There is a difference between condoning self-harm and supporting someone who is experiencing it. If a person's response to stress is to self-harm, then making them feel stressed about that is only going to make them want to do it more, the response is already established. Building rapport with a person is essential to helping them overcome anything, people won't stop indulging their stress response untill they feel safe to do so, so although it may seem counter-intuitive, the best thing anyone can do is lessen the additional stress, and when possible seek professional help.
eheadspace Moderator
Moderator
28th Aug, 12:16 pm