At Calmerkid.org, we understand that self-harm is a serious issue among children and young people, and we want to help. Self-harm is a behavior in which individuals intentionally cause harm to themselves, such as cutting, burning, or hitting. It is often a sign of deep emotional distress and can be difficult to understand or address. However, it is important to remember that self-harm is not a mental illness in itself, but rather a symptom of underlying issues such as anxiety, depression, or trauma.
In this article, we will provide 10 tips that can help children who are self-harming. These tips are based on evidence-based research and practical experience, and are intended to provide a starting point for those seeking to support a child in need.
- Listen and validate. It can be difficult to understand why a child might be self-harming, but it is important to listen to their thoughts and feelings. Validate their emotions and show empathy for what they are going through.
- Avoid judgment. It can be easy to judge a child for their behavior, but it is important to avoid doing so. Instead, focus on understanding their motivations and experiences.
- Get professional help. A mental health professional can provide specialized support for self-harm. They can also help to identify any underlying conditions and provide treatment options.
- Educate yourself. The more you understand about self-harm, the better equipped you will be to help a child. Read books, articles, and research papers to expand your knowledge.
- Create a safe environment. Ensure that the child feels safe and secure, and that they have access to resources that can help them.
- Encourage healthy coping mechanisms. Help the child to find alternative ways of coping with their emotions, such as exercise, art, or journaling.
- Promote self-care. Encourage the child to take care of themselves, both physically and mentally, by getting enough sleep, eating well, and engaging in activities they enjoy.
- Address underlying issues. If a child is self-harming due to trauma or mental illness, it is important to address these issues with a professional.
- Offer support and encouragement. Remind the child that they are not alone and that there is support available. Encourage them to talk about their feelings and to seek help if they need it.
- Be patient. Recovery from self-harm is a journey, and it can take time for a child to feel better. Be patient and offer support and encouragement along the way.
In conclusion, self-harm can be a difficult and confusing issue, but there are ways to help. By listening, educating yourself, and offering support and encouragement, you can play a crucial role in helping a child in need.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness. (2021). Understanding Self-Harm. Retrieved from https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Understanding-Mental-Health-Conditions/Self-Harm.
- Kids Health. (2021). Self-Harm. Retrieved from https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/self-harm.html.
- Mental Health Foundation. (2021). Self-Harm. Retrieved from https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/s/self-harm.
- American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. (2021). Understanding and Responding to Youth who Self-Injure. Retrieved from https://www.aacap.org