Wildcat Wellness

March 3, 2023

Self Harm Awareness Month

March is Self-Harm Awareness Month. What is self harm? Self harm is a deliberate act of harm to one's body. This may include suicidal intent or could be considered non-suicidal self harm. This can include behaviors such as picking at wounds, burning self, hitting oneself on purpose, or cutting self. Typically, cutting oneself is the most common use of self harm. Non-suicidal self injury is the second leading cause of deaths among youth today. NSSI typically occurs in adolescents between the ages of 12-14 years old.

So, what can you do if your child engages in self harm?

Get comfortable being uncomfortable, and address it directly with your child! For example, “I noticed that there were some cuts on your arm that looked like you might have done it to yourself on purpose. Can you tell me more about that?” It can be an uncomfortable and difficult conversation to have, and it’s important to model open and honest conversations about risk. This can serve to reinforce the message that all feelings are acceptable, and mental health issues are not taboo topics in your home. Your child may also be more likely to come to you for help and support the next time they are experiencing NSSI thoughts or urges, before engaging in NSSI behaviors.

Seek professional help from a mental health provider. If your child is already connected to care, make sure to notify their therapist immediately to ensure it gets addressed in the next session. This is especially important, if your child has never engaged in NSSI before and/or you are noticing an escalation in behaviors. It is also worth discussing whether the current therapy is adequate for addressing NSSI or if a higher level of care is needed.

Local resources:

Mountain Lakes Behavioral Healthcare provides individual therapy, substance abuse resources, residential services, day treatment program, and medication management.

(256) 259-1774

508 Gregory St, Scottsboro, AL 35768

Scottsboro Professional Counseling provides individual counseling and family counseling.

(256) 999-0727

605 E Laurel St, Scottsboro, AL 35768

Suicide and Crisis Hotline: 988

SCS Student Support Staff

Kennington Smith, LMSW (256) 218-2127

Kim Wilhelm, LICSW, PIP (256) 218-2150

Rachel Cook, LBSW (256) 218-2145

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Self Harm Warning Signs FINAL