Teens may engage in harmful behaviors as a way of coping, expressing and dealing with deep distress and emotional pain.
To some teens, causing harm to themselves is the only way they know how to cope with feelings like sadness, self-loathing, emptiness, guilt, control and rage.
The problem is that the relief that comes from self-harming doesn’t last very long. It’s like slapping on a Band-Aid when what you really need are stitches. It may temporarily stop the bleeding, but it doesn’t fix the underlying injury. And it also creates its own problems.
Most teens who self-harm try to keep what they’re doing secret. They may feel ashamed or maybe think that no one would understand. Two of the most common harmful behaviors exhibited by teens are cutting and eating disorders.
At Save A Life, professionals will host student workshops addressing Youth Mental Heath, Stress and Anxiety, and Eating Disorders.
Eating disorders are characterized by a persistent pattern of dysfunctional eating or dieting behavior. These patterns of eating behavior are associated with significant emotional, physical, and interpersonal distress.
Eating disorders can be found across the socioeconomic spectrum and are colorblind. They involve self-critical, negative thoughts and feelings about body image. Eating habits then become unhealthy and affect physical and emotional well-being. Onset often begins with adolescence, but can it can start even younger.
Cutting refers to any sort of self-harm which involves inflicting injuries or pain on one’s own body. Mental health professionals define the act of cutting as an unhealthy coping mechanism designed to immediately alleviate tension, anxiety, stress and depression – not as a suicide attempt. In other words, when reality feels overwhelming, some turn to cutting themselves, several times a day, with sharp objects in order to relieve their inner pain.