Depressed Young Man With Bandaged Wrists After Suicide Attempt
Published On: June 30, 2023|Categories: Teen Mental Health|

Have you ever heard a teenager complain about some area of their lives and thought to yourself, “Just wait until you’re my age,” or “You’re too young to be complaining about that”?

The belief that kids are incapable of suffering trauma, stress, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), addiction and other experiences because of their age is not only incorrect but harmful.

Trauma does not discriminate and can be experienced by males and females of all ages from all walks of life. The ways in which these traumas affect individuals will vary, depending on factors such as the nature of the trauma, the severity and the availability of care immediately after. 

In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at the connection between teens who have experienced trauma, those who are self-harming and the dangers this combination poses.

What is trauma?

Traumatic events are significant and distressing experiences that are characterized by their harmful, disturbing or life-threatening elements. 

In most cases, trauma takes a significant toll on the mental and emotional health of an individual that can last anywhere from a few weeks to the rest of their lives (depending on the severity of the trauma and whether or not professional help is sought for healing). Even if the trauma was not physical by nature, it can trigger the development of various illnesses and diseases.

Trauma can include (but is not limited to):

  • Physical or sexual assault or abuse 
  • Surviving a natural disaster
  • Serious accidents (such as car crashes or industrial malfunctions)
  • Military combat 
  • The death of a loved one (especially if the loss was sudden, unexpected or violent)
  • Neglect or abandonment in childhood and adolescence

While these are not the only types of traumas, they are the most common, and they can happen to anyone. Invalidating a young person’s feelings or response to a significant or disturbing event simply because of their age can exacerbate their symptoms of suffering. One of the most common ways pain manifests in a teen’s life is through self-harming.

What is self-harm?

Self-harm, also known as self-injury or self-mutilation, refers to the deliberate harming of one’s own body as a coping mechanism for some level of mental or emotional pain. Self-harming is not in and of itself a suicide attempt, but there are often correlations between teens who self-harm and those who struggle with suicidal ideation or who have made an attempt.

If you’ve never personally self-harmed before, it can be difficult or even impossible to understand. There are different reasons why teens turn to self-harm, including using it for emotional regulation, the need for control, self-punishment for perceived inadequacies, a subconscious expression of emotional pain and more. 

Self-harm statistics

The below statistics are from the National Library of Medicine, published in their report on the Rates of Nonsuicidal Self-Injury in Youth:

  • Minors have the highest rates of self-harming behaviors out of all the age demographics, with children as young as seven years old reporting in non-suicidal self-injuring.
  • Girls are more likely to engage in self-harming activities than boys, though boys do it as well. The self-injuring methods of preference are also different per gender, with girls being more likely to turn to cut their skin, while boys are most likely to hit themselves.
  • Most youth participating in self-harming behaviors are not doing so as a suicide attempt but with the intention of relieving some sort of emotional pain or mental overwhelm.

If you suspect or have discovered that your child is self-harming, reach out to High Focus Centers. We know this can be a scary and confusing time, and High Focus Centers can help guide you and your teen on their recovery journey.

Speak with an advisor today

Here at High Focus Centers, we provide adults and adolescents with varying levels of behavioral healthcare to help them restore and rebalance their health and well-being.

Whether your teen is struggling with a mental health issue, substance use disorder or co-occurring disorders (multiple disorders simultaneously), our team is ready to help. Knowing that no two people or situations are alike, we create a highly individualized treatment plan for each client in order to best support every client through their recovery journey.

Send us a message or call us directly to speak with one of our qualified advisors and learn more about how we can help your teen begin healing today.

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