Home NewsroomEducation What Should I Do If I Encounter Teenage Self-Harm? Psychologist: Listen to Their Voices

What Should I Do If I Encounter Teenage Self-Harm? Psychologist: Listen to Their Voices

by Julie Howard
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Nearly 15% of teenagers cannot use the correct way to find emotional outlets. When their emotions are high, they will use self-injury to divert their attention and use pain to digest their psychological pain. If the adults around them can detect and catch their distress signals in time, they may be able to help them get out of the mud of self-injury.


Many of the pressures felt in the lives of young people, most of the self-injured or self-injured people, do not aim to end their lives, but hope for “pain transfer”, which is also a distress signal. (Photo via unsplash.com)

Washington, D.C. (Merxwire) – According to the World Health Organization (WHO) statistics, there are as many as 350 million depression patients globally, and nearly 1 million people commit suicide due to depression every year. Depression has become the second-largest disease in the world after cardiovascular disease. But not only adults are depressed, but children’s depression is also worrying. According to data jointly released by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO), about one in five adolescents are currently suffering from mental health problems.

According to a survey by the American Psychiatric Association, nearly 15% of adolescents will use self-injury to deal with their emotions. More than 80% of self-injured people will cut themselves with sharp objects and use “pain transfer” Soothe the feelings they don’t want to face. Self-injury usually happens to girls, but in a study by Cornell University researchers Saskya Caicedo and Janis Whitlock, they found that self-injury can occur in any gender or age, and the youngest self-injury was only 7 years old.

Self-harming behavior can occur in any gender or age. (Photo via unsplash.com)

Most of the methods of self-injury are mainly cutting themselves with sharp tools. Still, sometimes they also include pinching, scratching, orbiting the skin, pulling hair, hitting the head, hitting the wall, or deliberately picking the wound, and the damage cannot heal. Their self-injury is not intended to end their lives.

Medically known as “non-suicidal self-injury” (NSSI), it is intentional inflicting bodily harm on oneself in some way, but not to cause death. Adolescent self-harm can be roughly divided into two parts: the imitation effect in the peer group and the other part is caused by psychological negative emotional pressure. Much of the stress teens experience in life can lead to emotional problems, but the “pain” of self-harm can overcome emotional pain. When emotions are high, and they don’t know how to release stress, these teens find relief and relaxation through self-harm. Therefore, as they grow older, teenagers gradually feel the pressure in their lives. If they do not learn the correct way to release their emotions, they will quickly embark on the road of self-injury.

Parents must catch their children’s unspoken emotions, and be concerned but not panic, in order to see the reasons behind their children’s self-injury behavior. (Photo via unsplash.com)

Because of this, psychologists put forward suggestions. When encountering a self-injured child, parents should not panic, care but not panic, first understand that he is venting his emotions, and not appear in a scolding attitude at this time. After the child is emotionally stable, accompany him with a willingness to listen, but if the child doesn’t want to talk, don’t force him. Just let him know that when he needs someone to accompany him, his parents are pleased to chat with you. A good parent-child relationship or peer interaction is an important reason for reducing the occurrence of self-injury behavior. If the family can provide support and timely care, along with the respect of school teachers and peers, the chance of self-injury behavior may be reduced. However, the psychologist also emphasized that it is imperative to seek professional help promptly. If the child’s self-injury is repeated or worse, parents should take the child to see a doctor immediately so that the doctor can evaluate whether there is a depression that requires medication and whether further treatment is required.

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