By Summer Thornsberry
Self-harm has become a growing problem in the U.S. with approximately 2 million cases reported each year. Although self-harm can occur at any age, 50 percent begin around 14 years old and can continue to do so until late 20s without treatment.
Self-harm is the act of hurting yourself in any way on purpose. Although, there are many methods of self-harm, the most widely-known is cutting, usually in places where it can be hidden.
There are many reasons a person would choose to self-harm. Some say it helps release emotional pain and others say it relieves stress. Usually, a person who is self-harming is not trying to commit suicide but more often trying to cope with pain.
It is common that a person who self-harms hides it so well that others are unaware. In most cases, a person who self-harms tries to keep it a secret.
According to Janet Latham, senior guidance counselor at Hopkinsville High School, “The main symptoms a child would demonstrate is a severe change in attitude.”
The child may show signs of depression or wear a lot of long-sleeved shirts. Latham said it is also common to see a drop in grades.
“The child may seem distracted or withdrawn and very emotional,” she noted.
If you suspect your child is self-harming, take immediate action. Self-harming could be fatal if not addressed. When approaching your child, try to learn about the problem and how he/she is feeling. Talk to your child about other solutions, offer support and contact a local therapist.
Contact the S.A.F.E Alternative Information Line at 800-366-8288 for referrals and resources, or visit www.selfinjury.com.