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Self-harm and Suicidality

Self-harm is the act of inflicting some sort of injury or harm on oneself without the intent of suicide. Examples of self-harm include cutting, scratching, embedding objects, burning, hitting self, hitting objects, not attending to wounds or injuries, and ingesting objects or harmful (not necessarily mood altering) substances. Self-harm can be a precursor to or indicator of suicidality (nine times more likely). Suicidality is when an individual has the intent to take their life.

Self-harm and suicidality are most often a symptom of underlying mental health issues including mood disorders like depression and bipolar, anxiety, personality disorders, eating disorders and body image issues, and PTSD. Victims of trauma and the LGBTQ+ population can also be high risk for self-harm and suicide. Individuals who self-harm or have suicidal thoughts often experience common themes including feeling misunderstood, disconnected, invisible and alone, impotent, powerless, helpless, shame, and like their families would be better off without them.

At Evoke our first priority is the safety of our clients. Given our high staff-to-client ratios, we are able to work with clients on a "safety watch" in which they are within arm’s length of staff 24-hours-a-day. We also treat the numerous underlying mental health issues and are able to dig underneath the symptoms to address root causes. Evoke creates a safe, compassionate, and non-judgmental environment to talk openly and honestly about these struggles. Evoke provides extensive family support to teach and coach parents on how to work with children who are struggling with self-harm and suicidality. 

Article by Dr. Brad Reedy

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