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Seen, But Not Heard: Self-injury, a cry for help

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Presentation on theme: "Seen, But Not Heard: Self-injury, a cry for help"— Presentation transcript:

1 Seen, But Not Heard: Self-injury, a cry for help
By: Millie Clemmons and Erin Stokes, School Counselors

2 What is self-injury? Also referred to as deliberate self-harm (DSH) or non-suicidal self-directed violence (SDV) Deliberate, non-life threatening self-effected bodily harm or disfigurement of a socially unacceptable nature Examples include: cutting, burning, scratching, carving, biting, pinching, interfering with healing, hitting head on or with objects, and hair pulling (trichotillomania) Teens and Self-cutting (Self-harm): Information for Parents

3 How do teens self-injure?
Razors Knives Pins/needles Broken glass Blades from pencil sharpeners Pencil erasers Teens and Self-cutting (Self-harm): Information for Parents

4 Where do teens self-injure?
Arms Wrists Ankles Lower legs Abdomen Inner thighs Teens and Self-cutting (Self-harm): Information for Parents

5 Why do teens self-injure?
To get relief from painful or distressing feelings (anger, loneliness, sadness, etc.) To deal with feelings of numbness To communicate pain or distress to others To punish themselves Stems from deep shame, guilt, or self-hatred Deeply addictive experience


7 How common is self-injury?
Approximately two million cases reported annually in the United States 90% begin in teen or pre-adolescent years Accurate statistics difficult to collect because most individuals who self-injure keep it hidden Self-injury, Self-harm Statistics and Facts

8 Self-injury Versus Suicidal Behavior
In MOST cases, teens who self-injure do so with no intention to commit suicide Goal of suicide-ending life to escape all feelings Goal of SI-to feel emotionally better Due to the dangerous nature of SI, some teens may accidentally injure themselves to the point of death Teens who self-injure may suffer from other mental health disorders that increase the likelihood of suicidal thoughts and behaviors Teens and Self-cutting (Self-harm): Information for Parents


10 Co-occurring disorders:
Depression Post traumatic stress disorder Anxiety disorders Bipolar disorder Eating disorders Self-injury: Statistics, Causes, Signs and Symptoms

11 Risk Factors Gender: Females are at greater risk of self-cutting than males. Age: SI often starts in early teens. Friends: Being around people or friends who self-cut. Life issues: Being in unstable/dysfunctional relationships or having experienced traumatic events. Source:


13 Risk Factors, continued
Mental health issues: Self-cutters often have poor coping skills and/or mental disorders. Excessive alcohol or drug use: Self-cutters often harm themselves while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Source:

14 Warning Signs Marks on the body, such as cuts or burn marks.
Cutting instruments found among teen’s belongings. Hearing of teenage friends/peers who are cutting themselves. Wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts consistently. Source:

15 Warning Signs, continued
Wearing thick wristbands that are never removed. Blood stains on clothing. Secretive / elusive behavior Spending lengthy periods of time alone. Source:


17 Treatment of Self-Cutting
Seek professional help immediately. Talk to family doctor or health dept. to find a mental health program. Source:

18 Treatment of Self-Cutting
Treatments might include: Individual therapy Group therapy Family therapy Medication In-patient hospitalization Source:

19 Treatment, continued 12-step programs.
Stress reduction and stress management skills. Complete abstinence from the behavior in a safe and structured environment may be necessary. Stress, anxiety, and/or depression need to be addressed as indicated. Positive, healthy coping skills need to be learned. Source:

20 The Butterfly Project The Rules:
When you feel like you want to cut, take a marker or pen and draw a butterfly on wherever the self-harm occurs. Name the butterfly after a loved one, or someone that really wants you to get better Source:

21 The Butterfly Project, cont.
3. NO scrubbing the butterfly off. It has to come off of your body naturally. 4. If you cut before the butterfly is gone, it dies. If you don’t cut, it lives. 5. If you have more than one butterfly, cutting kills them all. Source:

22 The Butterfly Project, cont.
6. Another person may draw them on you. These butterflies are extra special. Take good care of them. 7. Even if you don’t cut, feel free to draw a butterfly anyway, to show your support. If you do this, name it after someone you know that is suffering right now, and tell them. Source:

23 The Butterfly Project, cont.
8. Try keeping track of how many butterflies have successfully flown away. It will give you a sense of accomplishment and strength. Source:

24 Instead of Cutting... Find something to do that will distract you.
Find something to do that’s soothing / calming. Find something to do that will release physical tension / distress. Use a rubber band. Source:


26 What Can You Do? Call 911 for immediate health risk.
Remain calm and nonjudgmental. Obtain professional services from mental health professional. Provide moral and nurturing support. Participate in the child’s recovery. Support the child with an open and understanding heart. Source:

27 Questions?

28 Thursday, February 26th 6:30 - 8
Mark your calendars… Thursday, February 26th 6:30 - 8 High School and College Information with College Foundation of North Carolina

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