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Description: What do you know about self-harm? I do not mean, do you engage in self-harm but, rather, what have you heard of it? Over a relatively short number of years (20 tops) there has been a marked increase in the rates of self-harm (cutting etc.) among young people and particularly among teenaged and young adult females. While considered a risk factor associated with suicide there is much opinion (and data) suggesting that self-harm is not the same as suicide. In fact, Self-harm has typically been considered more of a symptom or other disorders rather than a diagnosis in and of itself. What it is, where it comes from, and how to treat it are all questions that have really only recently begun to be addressed. Have a read through the article linked below to get an overview of the ways in which these related questions are beginning to be addressed. Oh and for a fascinating mix of self-harming person perspectives and general and professional views, read though the comments linked at the bottom of the article itself.

Source: Getting a Handle of Self-Harm, Benedict Carey, New York Times.

Date: November 11, 2019

Photo Credit: Keith Nagley, New York Times

Article Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/11/health/self-harm-injury-cutting-psychology.html

Self-harm is on the increase and it is not isolated to teenaged and emerging adult females.  It is an important example of a phenomenon that needs research done looking BOTH in towards possible neurological factors (e.g., pain response etc.) AND outward beyond the individual to the social and recent historical factors that may be at play, particularly among teens and emceeing adults. The often dismissive phrase “kids these days” urgently needs some serious unpacking and research focus.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What is self-harm?
  2. How is (or just Is) self-harm related to suicide and suicidal ideation?
  3. What treatment options are currently emerging in relation to self-harm and how do they relate to the question of whether self-harm is a symptom of other things or something to be addressed directly on its own??

References (Read Further):

Swannell, S. V., Martin, G. E., Page, A., Hasking, P., & St John, N. J. (2014). Prevalence of nonsuicidal self‐injury in nonclinical samples: Systematic review, meta‐analysis and meta‐regression. Suicide and Life‐Threatening Behavior, 44(3), 273-303. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Graham_Martin/publication/259723469_Prevalence_of_Nonsuicidal_Self-Injury_in_Nonclinical_Samples_Systematic_Review_Meta-Analysis_and_Meta-Regression/links/5a307bfcaca27271ec8a0b94/Prevalence-of-Nonsuicidal-Self-Injury-in-Nonclinical-Samples-Systematic-Review-Meta-Analysis-and-Meta-Regression.pdf

Chan, M. K., Bhatti, H., Meader, N., Stockton, S., Evans, J., O’Connor, R. C., … & Kendall, T. (2016). Predicting suicide following self-harm: systematic review of risk factors and risk scales. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 209(4), 277-283. http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/102798/1/BJP_2015_170050v3_Chan_accepted_version.pdf

Crawford, M. J., Thomas, O., Khan, N., & Kulinskaya, E. (2007). Psychosocial interventions following self-harm: systematic review of their efficacy in preventing suicide. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 190(1), 11-17.  https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Mike_Crawford/publication/6602555_Psychosocial_interventions_following_self-harm_-_Systematic_review_of_their_efficacy_in_preventing_suicide/links/5613af8708ae238f9daef10c/Psychosocial-interventions-following-self-harm-Systematic-review-of-their-efficacy-in-preventing-suicide.pdf

James, A. C., Taylor, A., Winmill, L., & Alfoadari, K. (2008). A preliminary community study of dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) with adolescent females demonstrating persistent, deliberate self‐harm (DSH). Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 13(3), 148-152. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1475-3588.2007.00470.x

Mehlum, L., Tørmoen, A. J., Ramberg, M., Haga, E., Diep, L. M., Laberg, S., … & Grøholt, B. (2014). Dialectical behavior therapy for adolescents with repeated suicidal and self-harming behavior: a randomized trial. Journal of the American Academy of child & adolescent psychiatry, 53(10), 1082-1091. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Lars_Mehlum/publication/264894286_Dialectical_Behavior_Therapy_for_Adolescents_With_Repeated_Suicidal_and_Selfharming_Behavior_-_A_Randomized_Trial/links/59fe8820a6fdcca1f29bcf1d/Dialectical-Behavior-Therapy-for-Adolescents-With-Repeated-Suicidal-and-Selfharming-Behavior-A-Randomized-Trial.pdf

Iyengar, U., Snowden, N., Asarnow, J., Moran, P., Tranah, T., & Ougrin, D. (2018). A Further Look At Therapeutic Interventions For Suicide Attempts And Self-Harm In Adolescents: An Updated Systematic Review Of Randomised Controlled Trials. Frontiers in psychiatry, 9, 583. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00583/full?report=reader

 

 

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