Self harm - what? why? and how to help

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This is a short presentation which gives a definition of self-harm, then looks at why people self-harm including the self-harm cycle. It looks at who can be affected and what might trigger them then tells you some signs to look out for, how to respond if someone tells you about their self-harm and gives some ideas which are useful during recovery.

This presentation can be used just for information or as part of a brief training session.

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Self harm - what? why? and how to help

  1. 1. Self-Harm What is it?Why do people do it? How can you help?Pooky Knightsmith @PookyH
  2. 2. Self-harm definedAKA – self-injury, deliberate self-harm, self-poisoningMay include:• Cutting• Swallowing tablets / poisons• BurningIn younger children / SEN population you may see:• Hair pulling• Scratching• Head banging Any behaviour where the intent is to deliberately hurt oneself
  3. 3. Negative Emotions (sadness, anger, despair) Negative Effects Tension(Shame and guilt over (inability to cope with self-harm act) emotions) The Cycle of Self-harm Positive Effects Self-Harm Act (tension relieved (e.g. cutting, burning) temporarily)
  4. 4. Anyone can be affected• Approximately 10% of secondary school aged students have self-harmed• Hard to know true prevalence as it’s very secretive• Girls considered more at risk – but may be due to definitions• >25% of eating disorder patients also self- harm
  5. 5. Why?“I was told exactly what to do all the time. I had nocontrol over my life at all. Then I discovered cuttingand realised I had complete control over my ownbody.” CONTROL…
  6. 6. Why?“I don’t like it when I hurt inside – in my heart and mybrain – physical pain is a lot easier to deal with.” COPE WITH EMOTIONS
  7. 7. Why?“When I hurt myself it’s because I’m angry with myself- usually because I’ve said or done something stupidagain.” PUNISHMENT
  8. 8. Triggers• Family relationship difficulties• Peer relationship break up / difficulties• Bullying• Trauma• SH behaviour in other students / the media• Difficult times of year e.g. anniversaries• Trouble in school or with the police• Exam pressure• Times of change (new school, parents split etc)
  9. 9. Behavioural Warning SignsIsolation Can’t focusfrom in classfriendsSecretive Expressingbehaviour feelings of failure
  10. 10. Talking about self-harm Responding positively  Occasional eye contact  Open body language  Nod / affirmative noises  Don’t take notes / check watch  Involve them in decisions
  11. 11. Make a list of things to do before self harm. Laminate it and carry it everywhere and workthrough the list when you have the urge to self-harm Before self-harm… Go to a quiet place and Write or draw about Contact a friend, family scream / scream feelings member, helpline silently Hit a pillow / soft object Listen to music Look after an animal Draw red lines on the Snap elastic band Clench ice cubes skin on wrist

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