Adolescent self-harm and injury are common in teens experiencing emotional distress. Often self-harm is meant to be non-suicidal. However, self-harm is an intentional action and reveals how a young adult is feeling. To combat the pervasiveness of self-harm, March is Self-Harm Awareness Month. During this month, organizations and influencers are dedicated to sharing information and resources about self-injury. While making people aware of self-harm during March is important, ongoing treatment is essential to the lives of young adults. Teen self-harm addiction treatment programs will truly support the young adult in your life.
What Are The Signs of Teen Self-Harm?
A recent study conducted by Fair Health found that claims for intentional self-harm increased by 99.8 percent during the COVID-19 pandemic. This data sheds light on the problem existing with teens. Therefore it is important to pay close attention to teen behavior.
There are many reasons that teen self-injury may occur. Some teens could have experienced an event that triggered their emotions and could not cope positively. As a result, they begin cutting, scratching, burning, or even hitting themselves. These wounds often show up on their arms, legs, and front stomach areas.
As an adult in their life, you must pay attention to the signs of teen depression and the role that self-injury can play in displaying their emotions. Here are some behaviors that we should all watch in our teens:
- Exhibiting consistent symptoms related to depression, anxiety, or stress. If your teen cannot control their emotions and does not have positive ways to cope with their feelings, they may begin harming themselves.
- Visible cuts or scratches. While it’s common to have a cut as a result of an accident, if your teen consistently has breaks in their skin due to using a razor blade, paperclip, or other sharp objects, this is a clear sign inflicting personal injury.
- Wounds coupled with no clear explanations. Often, when teens participate in self-harming behaviors, they cannot or will not be able to explain how they got the wound. They may also act secretive and avoid conversation about their skin marks.
- Purposefully concealing their bodies. When teens cut, burn or hit themselves, they will want to cover their injuries. They might use several band-aids or other bandages to conceal their injury wounds. In addition, teens may wear long-sleeved shirts or pants–even on extremely hot days.
- Profound interest in self-injury. If you notice that your teen is reading, discussing, and actively learning about self-harm, this is a sign that you should not avoid it. Some teens even begin engaging with other teens who inflict harm on themselves or watch videos related to self-injury online.
How Can We Support Teen Self-Injury Behaviors?
When teens begin self-harming, it is clear that they need help. Certainly, it is not uncommon for teens to isolate themselves from others. However, if your teen is too withdrawn and is exhibiting specific signs, it is time to consider how to support them.
The first way we can support our teens is by not being judgemental. Teen self-harm means that your son or daughter needs your love and attention. They need help navigating a difficult moment in their lives. The best way to help them? Be compassionate. Listen to your teen and share with them alternatives to self-injury.
Next, you can seek professional help. School guidance and social workers are great resources to assist teens participating in self-injury. In addition, your pediatrician can refer you to a mental health professional.
Your teen’s emotions may be causing you some distress. However, it is best to remain as calm as possible and seek the professional assistance necessary to help them navigate these tough moments in their lives.
Find Support to Treat Self-Harm With Destinations for Teens
March might be considered Self-Harm Awareness Month, but at Destinations for Teens, we are committed to supporting adolescents with therapy and resources throughout the year. Teen self-injury is not an action that should be ignored. More than anything, it is a cry for help. Reach out at 877.466.0620 to learn more about how our programs can help your teen learn positive coping mechanisms.