Need help now?

Self harm

Discussion forum for parents in Australia


Self harm

I am currently struggling with my 15yr old daughter who has been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. She disclosed to me a few months ago that she cuts herself to release/cope with pain. She has had a recent hospital admission and presentation to ED with self harm injuries requiring medical attention. She has previously felt suicidal. We have a great GP a psychologist that is difficult to get appointments with and a supportive guidance officer however my husband and I and our daughter are really struggling. My daughter is also seeking alcohol on a regular basis and last night took a large amount of Phenergan to sleep mixed with alcohol she had hidden in her room. We have her in an alternate school program as she was not coping with mainstream school. I am feeling hopeless and overwhelmed at the moment and so is my husband. We have some weeks where things seem to be going ok but then we seem to be in crisis again. Would love to hear how other families manage similar issues with their teens.

Star contributor

Re: Self harm

Message contains a hyperlink

Hi @Frella123 , 


I'm so sorry to hear that your daughter is going through such a tough time at the moment, it must be incredibly challenging as parents to see your child struggling. It's fantastic to hear that you already have some supportive health professionals helping you, that can be a massive part of the puzzle. 


You are definitely not alone in supporting your child who's self harming - I thought it might be helpful for you to have a read through this thread, where a lot of different parents share what worked for them and their teens. 

Every teen and their family is different, but some common threads there seemed to be staying as calm as possible, focusing on what is underlying the urge to self harm, and looking at distraction or diversion techniques. Some people find flicking a rubber band on their skin or holding an ice cube until it causes pain to be an effective way to redirect that urge to self harm. I've also heard really good things about the Calm Harm 

app, which helps users to surf the 'wave' of those self harm urges, as they are usually only really intense for 15 minutes or so.


We also have some really good resources on teens and self harm here . 

This includes information on why some kids self harm, and some practical strategies to help them. 



As you've said, a lot of the time teens self harm to get a sense of release/ help them to cope with negative emotions, and it can be a really tough cycle to break, but it absolutely something that people can overcome with time and the right supports. 


It must have been really frightening to see your daughter mixing a large amount of alcohol with Phenergan last night, did she need any medical attention at all? Was she intending to harm herself when she did this, or was it more wanting to sleep? From a safety perspective, it could be a good idea to check her room for anything that could be dangerous. 


I'm also wondering if you and your husband are getting any professional support at the moment? It sounds like things have been a bit of a rollercoaster and it sounds like you are both doing a wonderful job supporting your daughter - often as parents we put our own needs last, but we do hear from a lot of parents that having extra supports to help them cope is incredibly important. We do offer a free one to one parents coaching service that you can check out here, if you think some extra support would be helpful. 



You sound like such a strong and loving parent, and we are always here if you need someone to listen.