If you have a child that is struggling with self-harm, I want to remind you that you are your child’s greatest advantage. What you do and how you respond matters. This book was written with all of my love and support for you and your family.
Self-harm is distressing and difficult for parents and caring adults to understand, as it seems to go against every instinct of self-protection and survival.
Author, educator and award winning speaker Michelle Mitchell has over 20 years’ experience working with and supporting children, parents and carers as they navigate this confronting mental health concern.
In this book she combines her experience with the latest research and interviews with experts and families to provide fresh insights into how to prevent, understand and respond to self-harm and digital self-harm.
Michelle answers questions like –
• Why does my child want to hurt themselves?
• What do I say if I suspect self-harm?
• How do I manage my child’s safety?
• How do I take care of siblings and other family members?
• When should I seek support?
This unique resource will provide parents with the facts, practical help and comfort they need.
Page 9. An eye-opening definition of self-harm. Without this understanding, self-harm is difficult to fully grasp.
Page 18. The warning signs that parents need to be looking for if they are concerned about their child’s mental health.
Page 11. Key research explaining how long teenagers usually use self-harm as a coping strategy, and its impact into adulthood.
Page 11. A research-based answer to the question, “Do young people who self-harm want to die?”
Page 21. How gender interacts with self-harm, and why self-awareness and self-care are critical to foster in our boys.
Page 29. Insights into why self-harm typically begins in the middle school years and how to support a child’s mental health during this time.
Page 34 – 41. A psychological and physiological understanding of why young people want to hurt themselves. Parents will come away with a clear understanding of why self-harm is so addictive.
Page 43 – 51. The role of the internet in self-harm. Three different strategic responses parents can have to managing a young person’s online life.
Page 58. A clear understanding of how friends can help their friends.
Page 61. What fake profiles and IP addresses have got to do with self-harm.
Page 89. A step-by-step guide to talking to a teenager about self-harm. This section gives parents the language and tools to have critical conversations and delves into what to say and what not to say.
Page 109. If you are not sure when to seek support , this section will give you a range of options to consider.
Page 131. The “delay, distracts and decide” strategy to ride out an intense emotional wave.
Page 135. A list of apps that support self-care.
Page 132 – 135. Over 80 self-care strategies to replace self-harm, and two very specific strategies I have personally seen help time and time again.
Page 142 – 143. If you are concerned about your teenager’s safety this section will give you a safety plan to follow.
Page 169. This section features a guide to taking care of siblings and establishing family routines that support mental health is featured on this section.
Page 173. Eight stories of hope from young people and parents who have walked the journey you may be now walking.
Michelle Mitchell’s book SELF-HARM is a much needed really valuable exploration of one of the most misunderstood and frightening behaviours that occurs for many young people on their adolescent journey. Michelle’s wisdom, warmth and compassion mirror what is really needed for those who are supporting a young person who is self-harming. This is a must for families, schools and community organisations that work with young people. Together we can all make a positive difference with really accurate knowledge and understanding that is found is this excellent book.
Maggie Dent (Author, Educator and Parents and Resilience Specialist)
Parents are often frightened and overwhelmed when they discover their child is self-harming. It is an issue that is not spoken about enough. This book is packed with research, expert advice and very brave personal stories, which will provide many parents with support and hope. Michelle has done an incredible job in addressing a very sensitive topic.
Collett Smart (Psychologist, Educator and Author)
With compelling wisdom and compassion, Michelle Mitchell has lifted the curtain on self-harm. She draws on important research and extensive experience and provides vivid examples that are so raw and so ordinary in their truth, as to give a strong and poignant voice, not only to those who are self-harming, but also to the ones who love them. This book traverses that gap. It is an intelligent, thoughtful, and much-needed resource, empowering all who read it with powerful insights, a road map of practical strategies, and above all else, hope.
Karen Young (Author, Speaker, Parenting and Child & Adolescent Anxiety Specialist)
This is a practical, compassionate, best-practice book that is accessible to any parent. Michelle combines understanding with genuine care to help any family with teens who struggle. I read every word! Highly recommended!
Dr Justin Coulson (Bestselling Author and one of Australia’s leading Parenting Experts)
This book is a much needed resource for any parent, carer or educator that is dealing with a young person in the grips of self-harm. This resource is incredibly timely and not only provides sound and well researched guidance, but also hope and a way forward.
Sharon Witt (Best-selling author, Educator and Presenter and Founder of Resilient Kids Conference)
Michelle goes where few have gone before, in tackling the distressing, confusing and fraught issue of self-harm in our young people.This book is a rational, evidence-based exploration of the behaviour, sorting fact from fiction. Most importantly, it gives parents – who can so often feel helpless – practical advice and essential tools to aid them in responding in the best way possible to their child. Michelle has done us all a great service in bringing us this invaluable title.
Melinda Tankard Reist (Author, Speaker, co-founder Collective Shout)
Reading Michelle’s excellent approach to this challenging subject of ‘Self Harming,’ has given me a much greater awareness and understanding of this issue, and I feel better equipped to help individuals and families thus affected. At times it was disturbing and painful to read, but Michelle has ensured there is hope strewn throughout the pages. This book will empower parents, teachers, laypeople and professionals as they help navigate children through the challenges of self-harm.
Pastor Anne Luliano (Founder of Chaplaincy Australia and NSW Ambulance Chaplain, Chaplaincy Trainer)
SELF-HARM should be required reading for every parent with children. Michelle Mitchell presents facts and figures, personal stories from families of self- harmers and most importantly, she gives adults the tools and resources necessary to handle this issue, including behaviors that could be a signal of self-harm, how to compassionately approach the subject with the young person and the differences between females and males who self-harm. This book equips the reader to be proactive by raising awareness, know what the next step(s) are and to let parents know that they are not alone.
Michelle Koe Page, PharmD (Mom, Pharmacist, Consultant and Co-founder of Unbreakable Moms