Self-harm refers to intentional acts of physically harming oneself as a way to cope with difficult emotions or stressful situations. Remembering that self-harm is never a healthy or productive way to deal with problems is important. It's a sign that someone is struggling and in need of help.
Some common symptoms of self-harm in adolescents may include:
Frequent cuts, burns, or bruises on their body, particularly in areas that are easy to hide (e.g., wrists, upper thighs).
Wearing concealing clothing even in warm weather to hide self-inflicted injuries.
Isolation and withdrawal from friends and activities they used to enjoy.
Signs of depression or anxiety, such as persistent sadness, irritability, or changes in appetite or sleep patterns.
Emotional instability, intense mood swings, or difficulty regulating emotions.
Difficulties expressing emotions verbally, leading to resorting to self-harm as a means of release.
Seeking out information related to self-harm online or offline, such as websites, forums, or social media platforms
If you suspect that an adolescent is engaging in self-harm or showing signs of emotional distress, it's essential to reach out to a mental health professional, such as a counselor, therapist, or psychiatrist, who can provide appropriate guidance and support. Additionally, informing a trusted adult in their life, such as a parent, teacher, or school counselor, can be crucial in ensuring the adolescent receives the help they need.
Remember, discussing self-harm can be sensitive, so it's important to approach the subject with compassion, understanding, and support.