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Identifying Self-Harm in Young Adults & How to Find Help

How to identify signs of self-harm in young adults

It can be scary for parents who watch a young adult commit self-harm. It can also be scary for the young adult! They might not know why they are doing it or understand what is leading to the feeling of harming themselves.

For parents, they can worry about something worse happening or how they get help for their loved one. They do not know who to turn or where to get help. They worry about being too forceful and causing more problems.

The first thing to remember is that self-harm is often the result of a mental health condition. Those are health problems that can hit any person of any background. It is a disease, just like a physical one that can be seen from the outside. There is often little control the person has over their disease without treatment. The good news is that plenty of people want to help a young adult stop self-harm.

There are also some warning signs for parents to watch for if they suspect a young adult of self-harm.

Sign Of Self-Harm

According to the Mayo Clinic, there are some signs that a person might be engaging in self-harm. They include:

  • Scars, often in patterns
  • Fresh cuts
  • Excessive rubbing to create a burn
  • Keeping sharp objects nearby
  • Wearing long clothing to cover self-harm, even in warm temperatures
  • Frequent reports of accidental injuries
  • Impulsive behaviors
  • Talk of helplessness or worthlessness

How Common Is Self-Harm?

There are various forms of self-harm that a young adult can participate in. They include cutting, burning, carving words into the skin or piercing their skin with sharp objects. There are also many more forms of non-suicidal self-harm.

It may be even more common than many people realize. According to a recent study by the National Institutes of Health, about 8% of youths in a study engaged in self-harm. The figure was slightly higher for girls than boys. It was also more common the older the teen got.

That is a staggering figure and one that shows self-harm is more common than most realize. So, if someone in your life is committing self-harm, they do not have to be alone in getting help.

What To Do Next

If you suspect a young adult of self-harm, it is important to remember not to yell and scream. That could make the situation worse. If they are old enough, you can talk to them and express your concerns. You can also encourage them to get help.

If they are a young adult or teen, a parent can also talk to a physician who can make a mental health referral and help treat any previous self-harm.

Anyone thinking about self-harm should contact a medical professional or mental health expert to discuss the situation. People can also contact the national crisis hotline at 988.

When a young adult decides they want to get help to end the practice of self-harm, there are many treatment options. Reach out to our staff at Momentum today to discuss the situation and how we can help end the cycle of self-harm.