Self Harm

Being a teenager is not easy. With pressure and influence from many people in your life, it’s not uncommon to feel trapped, confused and unsure on how to handle conflicting expectations and emotions.

In Canada, 15% of teens have engaged in self-harm.

Do you wonder what self-harm is? Self-harm includes behaviours such as: cutting, burning, scalding, or branding oneself. Other behaviours are listed below:

  • Overdoses taken with the intent to simply harm rather than kill
  • Bone breaking
  • Punching/kicking walls or other objects
  • Interfering with wound healing
  • Scratching or biting oneself
  • Embedding objects in the skin
  • Self-hitting, head banging (these two are more commonly seen in younger children)
  • Excessive nail-biting, skin picking, or hair pulling which causes injury/bleeding
  • Eating disorders
  • Excessive drinking
  • Drug use

Self-harm often happens when a person wants to have control during a chaotic time in their life. Some of these situations can include:

  • Bad breakups
  • Divorce of parents
  • Physical or sexual abuse
  • Serious illness
  • Major changes in friendships or living situations

Signs of self-harm include:

  1. Unexplained cuts, bruises, cigarette burns (wrists, arms, thighs, chest)
  2. Fully covered at all times (even in hot weather)
  3. Low mood (tearful, lack of motivation or interest)
  4. Changes in eating habits, secretive about eating, unusual weight loss/gain
  5. Low self esteem (blaming themselves for any problems), not good enough for something
  6. Pulling out hair
  7. Alcohol/drug misuse

If you’re harming yourself or you suspect someone is harming him or herself, it’s important to talk to someone.

Kids Help Phone has a website dedicated specifically to teens and kids. You can post questions anonymously and live chat with a counsellor on the weekends. It’s free, confidential, available 24/7 hours a day and is non-judgmental. Call 1-800-668-6868 or visit their website.

Mind your Mind is another great resource for a wide range of mental health issues.

You can make an appointment with your guidance counsellor at your school.

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