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Understand Self-harm to Help Your Child

self-harm, counseling for self-harm in Pinehurst NC, teen counseling pinehurst nc

 

Understand Self-harm to Help Your Child

 

The victims of self-harm are getting younger and younger. It is a concern that must not be ignored any longer as evidences show that it is on many young people’s radars. It may have started to simply divert their attention from an emotional pain brought about by bullying in school or issues at home. The discovery that it can momentarily shift attention away from pain, they may continue with self-harm, not knowing it is a dangerous diversionary tactic.

Not fully aware how self-harm or “nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) may impact their health and life, they are likely to continue doing it without a proper intervention. For a child to develop strategies to meet their emotional issues head-on in a healthy way, it is critical for parents and elders to recognize the signs, along with the help of an expert counselor/therapist.

 

Self-harm In Children: A Growing Concern

Self-harm is a serious concern that is fast growing among the young people around the world.

According to Mental Health America, the risk of self-harm is higher among young people by about 15 percent.

In the UK, the self-harm statistics show that in the 2014 -2015, “NHS hospitals treated more than 18,000 girls and 4,600 boys … after they had deliberately harmed themselves – a rise of 11 per cent. During the same period, cases involving children between 10 and 14 rose from 4,008 to 5,192 – a rise of 30 per cent.”

In Australia, self-harm has been observed in children as young as 3 to 5 years of age. A study on self-harm in children reveals that “approximately 7.6 per cent of 10-year-olds to 12-year-olds report self-harm.”

 

What is Causing Children to Self-harm

What’s going on inside the head of your self-harming child? It is really difficult to tell because there are so many possibilities. It is widely held among the experts, though, that the growing statistics indicate severe emotional distress because of “unprecedented social pressures.” If you are a parent of a child who is engaging in self-harm, you want to know what is running through their minds to want to hurt themselves.  Some young people tell Kids Helpline they engage in self-harm  to:

 

  • Escape from overwhelming negative emotions such as anger, frustration, sadness or loneliness
  • Help them to feel ‘something’, when they would typically 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
  • Various emotional health disorders can also include self-injuring behavior. It is important that your child is screened for such disorders when seeking assistance.

 

 The Link: Emotional Health and Self-harm

 Self-harm isn’t solely an emotional condition. It can, however, be a part of a diagnosis for one, such as PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), bipolar disorder, eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder or schizophrenia. CDC also notes that among the factors that may trigger self-harm  are a “history of depression or other behavioral or emotional conditions.” The Health Channel supports this relationship between self-harm and depression, saying that “Self-Injury and depression go hand-in-hand.”

Aside from depression and emotional conditions being probable triggering factors, CDC also says that, “Children and youth with developmental disabilities, such as autism and intellectual disability, are more likely to engage in other forms of self-injury than children without these disabilities. Youth with depression, anxiety disorder, and conduct disorder have a higher chance of self-violence, including suicide, than children without these disorders.”

 

What to Watch Out For

Regardless of the reason for self-harm, one thing is apparent – your child is in distress and needs help. Injuring themselves is an unhealthy way meant to address emotional pain and/or confusion. Unfortunately, you may encounter difficulty recognizing the symptoms because quite often it is done in secrecy.

Is your child manifesting signs of low self-esteem, seems to be having difficulty interacting with others and/or performing poorly in tasks at school and at home? Do they often have signs of injuries that they have difficulty explaining? Do they easily get irritated or angry? If more than one of these has been observed, check their personal possessions and spaces if they have sharp or injury-causing objects or bloodstained clothes, gauzes or cottons. These are the red flags you should pay attention to.  

 

Reacting to Your Child’s “Plea” for Help

Those marks of self-harm could be silent pleas from a child lost in his/her distress, fear, anger, shame, guilt or confusion. While no parent may look at the glaring evidences without some deep emotions being similarly related to them, it is important to be calm to stay logical about the issue at hand. Self-harm on young children may look grim, but it isn’t a hopeless cause. Seek help immediately from a caring child counselor/therapist independently contracted with Carolina Counseling Services – Pinehurst, NC.

An informed parent would want to have an evaluation done by a trustworthy professional trained in unraveling and treating the underlying reasons for their child’s self-harm. The younger a child is, the more they need your support, so they can learn how to accept their feelings when confronted with negative emotions. They may face setbacks, but with your love, understanding and support, there is always a chance and hope. Stopping NSSI can’t be accomplished overnight, but it can be done with the right help with the assistance of a therapist independently contracted with Carolina Counseling Services – Pinehurst, NC.  Call today!

Serving Areas: Carolina Counseling Services

Counties: Moore county, NC, Lee County, Hoke County, Chatham County

Areas: Pinehurst NC, West End NC, Taylortown NC, Seven Lakes NC, Eagle Springs NC, Jackson Springs NC, Foxfire NC, Candor NC, Norman NC, Ellerbe NC, Rockingham NC

Zip Codes: 27281, 27376, 28315, 28347, 28350, 28373, 28374, 28387, 28388, 28394

Kelly ErkenBrack, LCSW

Specializes in: (Ages 3+) Children, Teens, Adults, Couples and Families. Anxiety, Depression, Grief and Loss, Mood Disorders, Trauma, Adjustments and Life Transitions, ADHD, Behavioral Issues, Parenting, Relationship Concerns, Self Esteem
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Carolina Counseling Services – Pinehurst, NC

45 Dowd Circle Suite 5
PinehurstNC 28374