Saturday, February 16, 2013

How you can help

More and more teenagers are self harming. I have a blog post on the start of my particular story, which you can find here. In many cases, sufferers confide in friends whenever they are in a bad place, and just want help. But sadly, a lot of the time friends dont help. This has been the case for me.

So, what do you do if a friend comes to you asking for help? Well, heres a list of some things which will help...

  1. LISTEN- this really is key. The most important thing you can do for a friend is listen to them, because sometimes talking out problems really can do the world of good.
  2. Be there for them- this is similar to above. If someone whos self harming knows that there is someone there for them, then they are half way towards recovery. The best thing you can do is just let them know you are there. Tell them to text you or call you whenever they feel like doing it, and just give them plenty of hugs! It really will make a difference, I promise.
  3. Persuade them to tell someone- as with most mental issues, they cant be solved alone. Don't pressure your friend, but simply try and gently persuade them to tell a trusted adult, so that they can get the help they need.
  4. Give them space- Sometimes, everyone needs to be on their own. This is a hard one, but you really have to try and gauge for yourself whether or not your friend needs you right now. Don't be too clingy, but just go beck to number to and make sure you know you are there for them when they need you!
  5. Talk about the problem- I know its hard, especially if you don't understand it. But if a friend tells you by text that they have been self harming, its really important to talk about it with them face to face, even if you feel like just acting as if nothings happened. Research self harm online, to try and understand how your friend is feeling and how best to talk about it with them.
Here is a list of things NOT to do when a friend has told you they've self harmed, or if you're suspicious...

  1. Make a joke about it. This will make your friend feel pretty shit. It will be embarrassing, and will really destroy their trust in you. I appreciate its hard to talk about, but don't be patronising.
  2. Tell people. Even if you feel it may help, respect your friends decision for privacy. Appreciate that they have trusted you with possibly their biggest secret... the worst thing you can do is go and tell people.
  3. Don't constantly be checking them for cuts. You may think you're doing it inconspicuously, but your friend is most probably paranoid enough and will be able to see you looking.
  4. Don't say things like 'but why, your life is perfect!' or 'thats wierd, what do you think youre acheiving by that?'. This will make them feel really horrible about themselves. Try your best to understand, and if you dont understand at all then be straight with thema and tell them maybe they should tell someone else, you really don't know how to help them. But if you do this, you have to make sure you dont tell anyone at all, as that would be a real invasion of privacy.
If you are suspicious that someone you know may be self harming, speak to them one to one. Do not tell other people first.

Thank you for reading, if you need any further advice then email me or look online, as there is a lot of helpful stuff out there! xox

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