Due Date: March 2, 2015
Selfharm and Suicide in Teens
There is a growing problem in the world that many fail to realize is as serious as it is.
Young people are finding it necessary to harm themselves in order to relieve whatever emotional pain they might be feeling. A countless amount of questions may arise for those who do not understand selfinjury. What exactly is selfinjury? It can be defined in multiple ways but the general explanation is deliberately causing harm to one’s self. Why would someone do such a terrible thing to themselves? According to an article written by Jane Brody for the New York
Times, various teenagers selfharm because it is a way to have control over their bodies and feel like they cannot control anything else in their lives. However, like any problem, there is always a solution. There are many different methods of selfmutilation. There is cutting, burning, hitting, hairpulling, and carving (Segal). These are simply a few of the most popular methods. It typically starts within the early preteen years and continues through to teenage years. Some cases last much longer. There are warning signs to look for when it is believed someone is hurting himself. Selfinjurers wear long sleeve shirts even during the summer, they will not wear shorts that expose their thighs, they enjoy being alone, they have constant mood swings, and have
unexplainable cuts and scratches (Segal). Paying attention to little warning signs like this could possibly save a life.
Delving into the mind of someone who selfharms is vital in preventing it from happening in the first place. Steven Levenkron, a psychotherapist who wrote a book titled
studied what might cause a person to hurt themselves. He discusses four factors
(parental behaviors, inability to articulate emotions, low selfesteem, and sexual abuse) that I find rather important in order to understand selfharm. Levenkron states, “It takes intense feelings to ignore pain” (41). By stating this, he is opening the door to understanding exactly how depressed or helpless selfmutilators must feel. He goes on to explain that the way a parent behaves can influence their child tremendously. If a parent is aware that their child is having emotional problems and acts out against them, it will cause the child to be afraid of displeasing them. Children have a tendency to blame and retaliate against themselves for their parents unhappiness. This tendency can lead to selfmutilation. Levenkron explains, “Healthy parenting does not produce a selfmutilating child” (41).
“Selfmutilators suffer from a lack of emotional perceptiveness toward other people”
(49). Those who selfharm often feel that they will be disappointing people around them if those people happened to discover their secret. Selfinjurers keep to themselves in order to prevent everyone’s disappoint ment . This causes them to feel that they have no where to turn which can increase selfharming situations. Low selfesteem is also a cause behind selfinjuring.
“Individuals with low selfesteem are prone to forming attachments with persons who are abusive to her or needier than she is” (101). Levenkron explains that young people can relate this
behavior back to their home life and sometimes invite this behavior because they have fused security with pain.
An endless amount of people are at risk for suicide and selfharm.“The highest incidence of suicide occurs among those who are depressedso much so, in fact, that depression is considered to be a major cause of suicide,” according to a book written by Brent Q. Hafen and
Kathryn J. Frandsen (27). There are many different reasons adolescents are depressed. Studies performed by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention have found that bisexual or homosexual teenagers are more likely to be depressed because they are