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Understanding self harm for parents and carers

When someone we know is self harming, or we suspect someone may be harming themselves, it can be difficult to know how to support them. A valuable first step is understanding self harm and knowing how to access strategies, tools and support.

Self harm is any kind of behaviour that is a deliberate attempt to cause injury or harm to themselves. The ways in which a person can self harm can vary greatly, and can include things like:

  • Cutting, scratching, burning or picking skin
  • Banging or punching objects on themselves
  • Pulling out hair
  • Intentionally overdosing on drugs, medication, or self-poisoning
  • Deliberate risk taking with the intention of injury – things like driving at high speeds or using farm machinery recklessly

In this 30 minute webinar recording, the Outback Futures team shares:

  • Understanding self-harm
  • How to identify if your child is self-harming
  • Understanding what might motivate self-harm
  • Tips to help if your child is away at boarding school and other issues relevant for bush families
  • Links to resources and support options
  • Practical tools and takeaways

Please be aware this video includes content relating to self-harm, and exercise discretion.

Resources from other organisations:

  • Resources including fact sheets from Orygen
  • Information including self-help strategies from Lifeline
  • Information for parents from Kids Helpline

Information slide at 34:10:

It can be difficult to know what to do and how to cope, but help is available.

  • If life is in danger, please call 000
  • Kids Helpline – 1800 650 890
  • Headspace – provides free early intervention mental health services to 12-25 year olds. 1800 650 890.
  • SANE Australia – a free helpline providing information, advice and referral to anyone concerned about mental illness. 1800 187 236.
  • My Compass – a free online self-led program for people experiencing mild to moderate depression, anxiety or stress www.mycompass.org.au
  • Calm Harm – a free app developed by psychologists to help you resist or manage the urge to self-harm.
  • Parentline – A confidential telephone service providing professional counselling and support in QLD and NT. 1300 301 300.
  • Lifeline – 24 hr crisis support and suicide prevention. 13 11 14.

Video included in the webinar: Headspace Understanding Self Harm – Alyssa’s story video

You can also connect with the Outback Futures team.

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