Need help now?

Self-harm and your teen

Discussion forum for parents in Australia

Super frequent scribe

Self-harm and your teen

Message contains a hyperlink Message contains an image


Understanding self-harm and why your teenager may be engaging in this behaviour can be really difficult to get your head around. You may feel a lot of different emotions - worry, guilt, confusion, frustration, upset and more. Unfortunately, self-harm is not uncommon in teens, and we want to provide some support for those families that are coping with it at the moment too.


Self-harm (or self-injury) is deliberately hurting your body but without suicidal intent. It can be cutting or another type of deliberate physical harm. For most young people who self-harm, it is a way to cope with painful emotions, thoughts or memories and not an attempt to end their life. The physical pain of self-harm can provide a relief from difficult emotions. You can read more about what self-harm is, why young people do it and what to look out for here.


Understanding the reasoning behind why your child may be self-harming is one thing, next is being able to help them in a supportive and caring way. This article has some great pointers on how to broach the subject with your teen and this article goes into more depth about how to support your child through their recovery. If they need professional support, have a read through here for some advice, and always call 000 if immediate care is needed.


You might find sharing your story with other parents that understand to be helpful - Nick shares his story here.  Keeping in mind our guidelines around not posting about explicit details around self-harm - we encourage you to share your experiences, advice and insights below.