Elgin, IL Clinical Mental Health Counseling Experts Discuss How to Support Someone Who Self-Harms

Elgin Clinical Mental Health Counseling Experts Discuss How to Support Someone Who Self-Harms

It’s a sad fact, but every year, there are 312,000 emergency department visits for self-harm injuries. Because not every self-harm injury warrants a trip to the hospital, the overall number is probably much higher, with many having no opportunity to seek clinical mental health counseling.

Self-harm provides some escape and relief for pain and other difficult emotions, which is why many turn to it, but it can be dangerous to their health.

It can be a difficult subject, but if you know someone who self-harms near Elgin, or you suspect they might be, showing support can mean a lot to them. Here’s how to support someone who self-harms in a meaningful way.

Why Do People Self-Harm?

To support someone who self-harms in the Elgin area, you need to first understand what drives them to do so in the first place. There are several root causes for self-harming.

For some, it’s to relieve tension and to escape from pain. For others, it’s to seek attention or help, or to make other people feel guilty.

What all of these root causes have in common is they’re in response to distress. Essentially, self-harm is a coping mechanism.

The upside is self-harm usually isn’t an attempt at suicide. However, some self-harmers do end up losing their lives, so it still needs to be taken seriously.

How to Show Support

The best way to support someone who’s self-harming is to have a nonjudgmental open ear. Don’t push either; let them know that you’re there to listen if they need a friend and leave the ball in their court.

If you do approach them first, gently let them know you’ve noticed certain behaviors and you only have their best interests at heart. Even if you don’t understand what they’re doing, don’t be dismissive or even ridicule them.

Make sure you’re accepting and encouraging so your loved one feels like you’re on their side. This will increase the chances of them being receptive to your advice and seeking help.

Remain calm and try to offer ways for them to get help. In fact, you should come prepared with some resources, like counseling services. Self-harm is a symptom of a larger problem, which a person doesn’t acknowledge in many cases.

Should your loved one be in immediate danger (such as if they’re rapidly bleeding or are unconscious), call 911. Otherwise, ask them if they need medical attention before dialing 911, as you might alienate them.

Help Someone Who Self-Harms in Elgin

If you know someone who self-harms in the Elgin area, you now have a better understanding of why they do it and how to support them. By listening to and reassuring them, it can already help a lot. If they’re open to it, you can point them to professional counseling services where they can get started on healing and handling any trauma.

If you or a loved one wants assistance with self-harming, then contact us now. Our trusted counselors will come up with a customized treatment plan to help you thrive.