Currently browsing child safety posts

1 in 10 Young People Self-Harm: Here’s How to Help

Self-harm is when somebody intentionally damages or injures their body. It’s usually a way of coping with or expressing overwhelming emotional distress.

Sometimes when people self-harm, they feel on some level that they intend to die. Over half of people who die by suicide have a history of self-harm.

However, the intention is more often to punish themselves, express their distress or relieve unbearable tension. Sometimes the reason is a mixture of both.

Self-harm can also be a cry for help.

Getting help

If you’re self-harming, you should see your GP (*physician) for help. They can refer you to healthcare professionals at a local community mental health service for further assessment. This assessment will result in your care team working out a treatment plan with you to help with your distress.

Treatment for people who self-harm usually involves seeing a therapist to discuss your thoughts and feelings, and how these affect your behaviour and wellbeing. They can also teach you coping strategies to help prevent further episodes of self-harm. If you’re badly depressed, it could also involve taking antidepressants or other medication.

Types of self-harm

There are many different ways people can intentionally harm themselves, such as:

  • cutting or burning their skin
  • punching or hitting themselves
  • poisoning themselves with tablets or toxic chemicals
  • misusing alcohol or drugs
  • deliberately starving themselves (anorexia nervosa) or binge eating (bulimia nervosa)
  • excessively exercising

People often try to keep self-harm a secret because of shame or fear of discovery. For example, if they’re cutting themselves, they may cover up their skin and avoid discussing the problem. It’s often up to close family and friends to notice when somebody is self-harming, and to approach the subject with care and understanding.

Signs of self-harm

If you think a friend or relative is self-harming, look out for any of the following signs:

  • unexplained cuts, bruises or cigarette burns, usually on their wrists, arms, thighs and chest
  • keeping themselves fully covered at all times, even in hot weather
  • signs of depression, such as low mood, tearfulness or a lack of motivation or interest in anything
  • self-loathing and expressing a wish to punish themselves
  • not wanting to go on and wishing to end it all
  • becoming very withdrawn and not speaking to others
  • changes in eating habits or being secretive about eating, and any unusual weight loss or weight gain
  • signs of low self-esteem, such as blaming themselves for any problems or thinking they’re not good enough for something
  • signs they have been pulling out their hair
  • signs of alcohol or drugs misuse

People who self-harm can seriously hurt themselves, so it’s important that they speak to a GP about the underlying issue and request treatment or therapy that could help them.

Why people self-harm

Self-harm is more common than many people realise, especially among younger people. It’s estimated around 10% of young people self-harm at some point, but people of all ages do. This figure is also likely to be an underestimate, as not everyone seeks help.

In most cases, people who self-harm do it to help them cope with overwhelming emotional issues, which may be caused by:

  • social problems – such as being bullied, having difficulties at work or school, having difficult relationships with friends or family, coming to terms with their sexuality if they think they might be gay or bisexual, or coping with cultural expectations, such as an arranged marriage
  • trauma – such as physical or sexual abuse, the death of a close family member or friend, or having a miscarriage
  • psychological causes – such as having repeated thoughts or voices telling them to self-harm, disassociating (losing touch with who they are and with their surroundings), or borderline personality disorder

These issues can lead to a build-up of intense feelings of anger, guilt, hopelessness and self-hatred. The person may not know who to turn to for help and self-harming may become a way to release these pent-up feelings.

Self-harm is linked to anxiety and depression. These mental health conditions can affect people of any age. Self-harm can also occur alongside antisocial behaviour, such as misbehaving at school or getting into trouble with the police.

Although some people who self-harm are at a high risk of suicide, many people who self-harm don’t want to end their lives. In fact, the self-harm may help them cope with emotional distress, so they don’t feel the need to kill themselves.

Useful organisations

There are organisations that offer support and advice for people who self-harm, as well as their friends and families. These include:

Find more mental health helplines.

Editor’s Note: *clarification provided for our US readers.

** Resources outside the U.K.

  • Samaritans USA provides resources like hotlines and professional educational courses to prevent suicide.
  • NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the largest grassroots mental health organization in the US.
  • The Self Injury Foundation is dedicated to providing funding for self-harm research and education as well as resources and information about self-harm.
  • Recover Your Life is a self-harm forum.
  • National Parents Hotline provides emotional support for parents dealing with a range of issues.

 

NHS Choices logo


From www.nhs.uk





Child Health & Safety News 2/19: 80% of Kids in Russia Beat Cancer

twitter thumbIn this week’s Child Health News: Warren Buffett’s sister donates $105.8 million for behavioral health center for children

Welcome to Pediatric Safety’s weekly “Child Health & Safety News Roundup”- a recap of the past week’s child health and safety news headlines from around the world. Each day we use social media to communicate relevant and timely health and safety information to the parents, medical professionals and caregivers who follow us. Occasionally we overlook something, but overall we think we’re doing a pretty good job of keeping you informed.  Still, quite a bit happens every day – so to make sure you don’t miss anything, we offer you a recap of this week’s top 20 events & stories.

PedSafe Child Health & Safety News Headline of the Week:
Russian child cancer survival rates higher than 80%, Health Ministry reveals   

Child Health & Safety News 2/12: Senate Funds Health Programs

twitter thumbIn this week’s Child Health News: States need U.S. help to protect drug-affected infants 

Welcome to Pediatric Safety’s weekly “Child Health & Safety News Roundup”- a recap of the past week’s child health and safety news headlines from around the world. Each day we use social media to communicate relevant and timely health and safety information to the parents, medical professionals and caregivers who follow us. Occasionally we overlook something, but overall we think we’re doing a pretty good job of keeping you informed.  Still, quite a bit happens every day – so to make sure you don’t miss anything, we offer you a recap of this week’s top 20 events & stories.

PedSafe Child Health & Safety News Headline of the Week:
Senate Budget Deal Would Give A Boost To Health Programs

How to Tell if Your Child Has a Concussion

Head Injuries and Concussions.

When in doubt, Check it out.

Concussions have gotten a lot of press lately and when we think about concussions, we typically think of sports and athletes but the truth is that concussions and possible head injuries can happen anywhere and while we cannot have our children walk around with a helmet everywhere they go, we can be aware of the most common signs and symptoms of head injuries and possible concussions so that we, as parents, can make better decisions for the safety of our children.

Please allow me to preface this information with a better safe than sorry approach. If you, at any time, feel that your child has suffered a blow to the head and feel that they should have an exam to be sure everything is ok, then do it. You can drive the child to the hospital if the child has no signs or symptoms or you can call 911 and have them taken to the ER if the child is showing any of the following signs or symptoms.

How does a concussion happen? A concussion can happen when the head receives a severe blow or the body can be shaken to the point that it effects the brain. This can happen from something as small as a fall from tripping or something as severe as a football tackle or baseball hit to the head.

What are the most common signs and symptoms of a concussion that I should be looking for?

  • Severe Headaches. With the child receiving a blow to the head, a headache might be expected but if the headache persists or becomes severe then a trip to have it assessed is in order.
  • Your child is not acting like their normal self. The tricky part of head injuries is that they do not have to manifest immediately. Some signs and symptoms can take hours to start manifesting themselves and observation of the child is in order. If the child is not acting as they normally do, for example a child that is suddenly sluggish or unable to focus or remember things could possibly have a head injury and needs to be examined.
  • Nausea and or Vomiting. It is not uncommon for a person with a head injury to become nauseous or vomit shortly after sustaining the injury.
  • A loss of coordination. A person who has suffered a head injury or concussion may lose coordination and may not be able to walk or even stand.
  • Vision problems. Blurred vision or a loss of vision in one or both eyes is a sign of a head injury. The best answer, in this case, is calling 911. There is no timetable on how long this could last and it is best to have this person transported and evaluated at the hospital.
  • Slurred Speech. This is one of the easier signs to assess as the person will not be able to speak as they normally do.
  • Disruption of sleep. If a child that has suffered a head injury earlier in the day or previous days is having difficulty sleeping, this is something that should be assessed by a doctor and requires immediate attention.

While this is just a list of some of the most common symptoms, the ultimate decision is up to you. As I said above and as I tell all of the patients I encounter with these types of injuries. To know for sure we need to go get it looked at. The longer these symptoms go undiagnosed and untreated, the worse they can become and the greater damage they can cause. When in doubt check it out.

Maze Runner: The Death Cure is Sensory Friendly Tuesday at AMC

AMC Entertainment (AMC) has expanded their Sensory Friendly Films program in partnership with the Autism Society. This Tuesday evening, families affected by autism or other special needs have the opportunity to view a sensory friendly screening of Maze Runner: The Death Cure, a film that may appeal to older audiences on the autism spectrum.

As always, the movie auditoriums will have their lights turned up and the sound turned down. Families will be able to bring in snacks to match their child’s dietary needs (i.e. gluten-free, casein-free, etc.), there are no advertisements or previews before the movie and it’s totally acceptable to get up and dance, walk, shout, talk to each other…and even sing – in other words, AMC’s “Silence is Golden®” policy will not be enforced during movie screenings unless the safety of the audience is questioned.

Does it make a difference? Absolutely! Imagine …no need to shhhhh your child. No angry stares from other movie goers. Many parents think twice before bringing a child to a movie theater. Add to that your child’s special needs and it can easily become cause for parental panic. But on this one day a month, for this one screening, everyone is there to relax and have a good time, everyone expects to be surrounded by kids – with and without special needs – and the movie theater policy becomes “Tolerance is Golden“.

AMC and the Autism Society will be showing Maze Runner: The Death Cure sensory friendly tomorrow, Tuesday, February 13th at 7pm (local time). Tickets can be as low as $4 to $6 depending on the location. To find a theatre near you, here is a list of AMC theatres nationwide participating in this fabulous program (note: to access full list, please scroll to the bottom of the page).

Still to Come in FebruaryBlack Panther (Tues 2/27); 

****************************************************************************************************************************

Editor’s note: Maze Runner: The Death Cure has been chosen by AMC and the Autism Society for a Tuesday Sensory Friendly “Mature Audience” screening. Parents should be advised that it is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, language, and some thematic elements.  As always, please check the IMDB Parents Guide for a more detailed description of this film to determine if it is right for you and your family.

Peter Rabbit is Sensory Friendly at AMC: Feb 10th & 24th

New sensory friendly logoSince 2007, AMC Entertainment (AMC) and the Autism Society have teamed up to bring families affected by autism and other special needs “Sensory Friendly Films” every month – a wonderful opportunity to enjoy fun new films in a safe and accepting environment.

The movie auditoriums will have their lights turned up and the sound turned down. Families will be able to bring in snacks to match their child’s dietary needs (i.e. gluten-free, casein-free, etc.), there are no advertisements or previews before the movie and it’s totally acceptable to get up and dance, walk, shout, talk to each other…and even sing – in other words, AMC’s “Silence is Golden®” policy will not be enforced during movie screenings unless the safety of the audience is questioned.

Does it make a difference? Absolutely! Imagine …no need to shhhhh your child. No angry stares from other movie goers. Many parents think twice before bringing a child to a movie theater. Add to that your child’s special needs and it can easily become cause for parental panic. But on this one day a month, for this one screening, everyone is there to relax and have a good time, everyone expects to be surrounded by kids – with and without special needs – and the movie theater policy becomes “Tolerance is Golden“.

Families affected by autism or other special needs can view a sensory friendly screening of Peter Rabbit on Saturday, February 10th & February 24th at 10am (local time). Tickets are typically $4 to $6 depending on the location. To find a theatre near you, here is a list of AMC theatres nationwide participating in this fabulous program (note: to access full list, please scroll to the bottom of the page).

Still to Come in February: The Maze Runner: The Death Cure (Tues 2/13); Black Panther (Tues 2/27); 

****************************************************************************************************************************

Editor’s note: Although Peter Rabbit has been chosen by the AMC and the Autism Society as this month’s Sensory Friendly Film, we do want parents to know that it is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America for rude humor and action.  As always, please check the IMDB Parents Guide for a more detailed description of this film to determine if it is right for you and your family.

Next Page »