“Your Kids Aren’t Too Young to Talk About Race: Resource Roundup”

Mother’s Day, When Grief Gets in the Way

Mother’s Day is a celebration of mothers and motherhood. I recognize that Mother’s Day can bring mixed emotions to both children and mothers impacted by social distancing and other challenging circumstances related to trauma, grief and loss.

Being a Mother with a Demanding Job

Being an attorney and a mother can be extremely difficult. Finding work-life balance may seem impossible and mother’s may begin to feel guilty for working as much as they do. Continue to read on some tips that can help next time the working mom guilt sets in.

Comforts of Home for College Students

While moving back home after college is quite common, estimated at 50% a majority of parents welcome their children back home and many parents and young adults have found living together at this time to be mutually beneficial in many ways.

The Graduating Class of 2020

Group traditions with high school graduation pose quite a dilemma in the time of social distancing. So how can students make meaning of all the uncertainty as they journey into a new chapter in their lives?

Weekly Intervention Ideas : April 6th Edition

Creating Social Connections through Quarantine

Our need for human connection is so powerful that it is essential to our physical and mental well-being.

Talking with Children about COVID-19

Stay-at-Home, Work-from-Home: Too Much to Soon?

How to Respond to Self Harm

Have you ever looked at someone and noticed a series of scars on their wrists? Did you make a face or pass judgement about that person without knowing who they are or what they’re going through? Likely.

Of the many symptoms of mental health conditions, self-harm is one of the least understood and least sympathized. It’s also one of the few physically visible symptoms. Therefore, it’s often responded to in a way that’s derogatory and potentially harmful. For example:

“That’s just teenage angst.”

“Why would anyone do that to themselves?”

“You’re just trying to get attention.”

These reactions grossly undermine how serious self-harm is. Self-Harm is usually a sign that a person is struggling emotionally and isn’t sure how to cope. It’s a sign that a person needs support, understanding and professional help. Most importantly, it’s a sign that shouldn’t be ignored or judged.

Your Initial Response

It can be shocking to notice a person’s self-harm scars. Your instinct may be to stare or immediately express shock. But self-harm is a sensitive topic that should be approached in a certain way.

Whether you know the person or not, it is essential not to display shock or horror even if that’s how you feel. Don’t say anything that could shame them or make them feel judged or foolish. You don’t want to draw attention to their scars, especially in public.

If the person is a close friend or family member, don’t ignore what you’ve seen. Wait until you are with them in private, and then talk to them about what you noticed.

Having A Meaningful Conversation

The most important part of talking to someone about self-harm is to frame the conversation in a supportive and empathetic way. Show concern for their well-being and be persistent if they don’t open up right away. When having a conversation about self-harm, consider the following do’s and don’ts:

Do:

  • Show compassion
  • Respect what the person is telling you, even if you don’t understand it
  • Stay emotionally neutral
  • Listen, even if it makes you uncomfortable
  • Encourage them to use their voice, rather than their body as a means of self-expression
  • Encourage them to seek mental health care

Don’t:

  • Pity them
  • Joke about it
  • Guilt them about how their actions affect others
  • Give ultimatums
  • Remind them how it looks or what people will think
  • Make assumptions

Continuing Support

After that first conversation, it’s important to follow-up with your loved one to show your ongoing support. If they have not sought out care, continue to ask about it and offer to help them find a mental health professional.

You can also offer to help identify their self-harm triggers. You can do this by asking questions like: “What were you doing beforehand?” “Was there anything that upset you or stressed you out that day?” If a person is more aware of their triggers, it could help prevent future self-injury. Assisting your loved one find and practice healthier coping mechanisms is also a great way to help.

Self-harm is a serious issue that should be addressed as soon as you find out it’s happening. Keep in mind that one of the best things you can instill in a person who is self-harming is that you are there for them and that you care about them. You can always be helpful to someone even if you don’t understand what they’re going through.

 

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