Most adults are familiar with a range of mental health conditions/behaviours that might affect children and teenagers. Eating disorders, depression, anxiety and even bipolar disorder are now more widely understood. However, when it comes to self-injury, the common reaction in adults is one of fear. Despite us being all but immune to people hurting each other, someone “choosing” to inflict damage on themselves is incomprehensible to many, and horrific to some. This seemingly alien way of behaving confuses people, making them afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing and “making it worse”. Sometimes, the tired old, “attention-seeking” drum is banged in response. It is within everyone’s power to support young people who self-injure. In the majority of cases, genuine help is given by being willing to hold the space and listen.
“I was voiceless and you gave me a voice.”
Rhi, May 2021