Self Harm Awareness

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Self Harm Awareness

Post by Steph on Sun Jun 27, 2010 10:49 pm

Hi everyone! I got this from: http://selfinjury.org/docs/brights.html I saw it on another site, and I thought I should put it on here. I may put one that has a more God-centric view to it later if I have time to make it so, but here's the original version. It's a bit long, but I hope someone finds something in it that will help them feel better.
Lots of love!
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Bill of Rights for People Who Self-Harm
Preamble
An estimated one percent of Americans use physical self-harm as a way of coping with stress; the rate of self-injury in other industrial nations is probably similar. Still, self-injury remains a taboo subject, a behavior that is considered freakish or outlandish and is highly stigmatized by medical professionals and the lay public alike. Self-harm, also called self-injury, self-inflicted violence, or self-mutilation, can be defined as self-inflicted physical harm severe enough to cause tissue damage or leave visible marks that do not fade within a few hours. Acts done for purposes of suicide or for ritual, sexual, or ornamentation purposes are not considered self-injury. This document refers to what is commonly known as moderate or superficial self-injury, particularly repetitive SI; these guidelines do not hold for cases of major self-mutilation (i.e., castration, eye enucleation, or amputation).
Because of the stigma and lack of readily available information about self-harm, people who resort to this method of coping often receive treatment from physicians (particularly in emergency rooms) and mental-health professionals that can actually make their lives worse instead of better. Based on hundreds of negative experiences reported by people who self-harm, the following Bill of Rights is an attempt to provide information to medical and mental-health personnel. The goal of this project is to enable them to more clearly understand the emotions that underlie self-injury and to respond to self-injurious behavior in a way that protects the patient as well as the practitioner.



The Bill of Rights for Those who Self-Harm
The right to caring, humane medical treatment.
Self-injurers should receive the same level and quality of care that a person presenting with an identical but accidental injury would receive. Procedures should be done as gently as they would be for others. If stitches are required, local anesthesia should be used. Treatment of accidental injury and self-inflicted injury should be identical.

The right to participate fully in decisions about emergency psychiatric treatment (so long as no one's life is in immediate danger).
When a person presents at the emergency room with a self-inflicted injury, his or her opinion about the need for a psychological assessment should be considered. If the person is not in obvious distress and is not suicidal, he or she should not be subjected to an arduous psych evaluation. Doctors should be trained to assess suicidality/homicidality and should realize that although referral for outpatient follow-up may be advisable, hospitalization for self-injurious behavior alone is rarely warranted.

The right to body privacy.
Visual examinations to determine the extent and frequency of self-inflicted injury should be performed only when absolutely necessary and done in a way that maintains the patient's dignity. Many who SI have been abused; the humiliation of a strip-search is likely to increase the amount and intensity of future self-injury while making the person subject to the searches look for better ways to hide the marks.

The right to have the feelings behind the SI validated.
Self-injury doesn't occur in a vacuum. The person who self-injures usually does so in response to distressing feelings, and those feelings should be recognized and validated. Although the care provider might not understand why a particular situation is extremely upsetting, she or he can at least understand that it *is* distressing and respect the self-injurer's right to be upset about it.

The right to disclose to whom they choose only what they choose.
No care provider should disclose to others that injuries are self-inflicted without obtaining the permission of the person involved. Exceptions can be made in the case of team-based hospital treatment or other medical care providers when the information that the injuries were self-inflicted is essential knowledge for proper medical care. Patients should be notified when others are told about their SI and as always, gossiping about any patient is unprofessional.

The right to choose what coping mechanisms they will use.
No person should be forced to choose between self-injury and treatment. Outpatient therapists should never demand that clients sign a no-harm contract; instead, client and provider should develop a plan for dealing with self-injurious impulses and acts during the treatment. No client should feel they must lie about SI or be kicked out of outpatient therapy. Exceptions to this may be made in hospital or ER treatment, when a contract may be required by hospital legal policies.

The right to have care providers who do not allow their feelings about SI to distort the therapy.
Those who work with clients who self-injure should keep their own fear, revulsion, anger, and anxiety out of the therapeutic setting. This is crucial for basic medical care of self-inflicted wounds but holds for therapists as well. A person who is struggling with self-injury has enough baggage without taking on the prejudices and biases of their care providers.

The right to have the role SI has played as a coping mechanism validated.
No one should be shamed, admonished, or chastised for having self-injured. Self-injury works as a coping mechanism, sometimes for people who have no other way to cope. They may use SI as a last-ditch effort to avoid suicide. The self-injurer should be taught to honor the positive things that self-injury has done for him/her as well as to recognize that the negatives of SI far outweigh those positives and that it is possible to learn methods of coping that aren't as destructive and life-interfering.

The right not to be automatically considered a dangerous person simply because of self-inflicted injury.
No one should be put in restraints or locked in a treatment room in an emergency room solely because his or her injuries are self-inflicted. No one should ever be involuntarily committed simply because of SI; physicians should make the decision to commit based on the presence of psychosis, suicidality, or homicidality.

The right to have self-injury regarded as an attempt to communicate, not manipulate.
Most people who hurt themselves are trying to express things they can say in no other way. Although sometimes these attempts to communicate seem manipulative, treating them as manipulation only makes the situation worse. Providers should respect the communicative function of SI and assume it is not manipulative behavior until there is clear evidence to the contrary.



© 1998-2001 Deb Martinson. Reprint permission granted with proper credit to author.


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Listen to me, Support me, Help me...

Post by Steph on Sun Jun 27, 2010 10:51 pm

I came across this quote today that describes what self injury is and voices what a person who self injures wants others to know about it...

"Cutting is not attention seeking. It is not manipulative. It is a coping mechanism - a punitive, unpleasant, potentially dangerous one - but it works, it helps me cope with strong emotions that I don't know how to deal with. Don't tell me I'm sick, don't tell me to stop. Don't try to make me feel guilty, that's how I feel already. Listen to me, support me, help me."

-Andrew, as quoted in Marilee Strongs "A Bright Red Scream"
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Resource for Parents/Friends of Girls who Self Harm...

Post by Steph on Sun Jun 27, 2010 10:52 pm

I found a resource the other day that is great for parents, or anyone who knows a girl who self harms and wants to understand and help. It's called, "Hope and Healing for Kids Who Cut: Learning to Understand and Help Those Who Self Injure."

Definately recommend this book!
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Dealing with Self Injury

Post by Steph on Sun Jun 27, 2010 10:53 pm

Hey all! I found this video on Youtube and I thought it would be good to post here for both a person who self harms and for those who want to help someone who self harms in their recovery and struggling. It gives tips for those who self harm and also for someone who may be trying to help a friend who self harms.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyFenbMJSQw

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Katie's Paper (Part 2)

Post by Steph on Mon Jun 28, 2010 7:47 pm

Hey girls, this is the second essay I wrote over self-injury for the same class, and the teacher divided it into two parts. This is the part called the problem paper. The one due in about 3 weeks is the solution paper. So, here it is, let me know what you think. (its in apa format so this may copy and paste funny)

Solving Self-Injury
Old and new scars are displayed on the arms of a young adult. Some are in straight lines, some which criss-cross. Some scars form words that are burdened upon her mind, while others are in a mass array of self-destruction. The pressures of balancing schoolwork and a social life weigh too heavily on her mind and she feels as if she cannot cope. The only action she believes she can do well destroys her body. No matter the destruction though, she does not care. All she knows materializes when she brings the cold, shiny, metal blade against her skin: she controls her actions. This could be a daughter or a friend. Would college students allow the most beloved person in their lives to fall into the addiction of self-injury? Hopefully not, but everyday someone in the world, United States, and even college campuses becomes victim to his or her own crime.
College campuses have been slow to take action on this issue. Priorities are made, which put addictions to drugs, alcohol, and porn, at a higher attention level than self-injury. That is unjust, especially when the higher attentions applied to drugs, alcohol, and porn promote those addictions instead of negating them. Many programs and awareness events exist for drug, alcohol, and porn addictions, yet only a few which help recovery from self-injury, and even fewer that raise awareness. Self-injury needs to be put on the list of priorities for colleges. College campuses need to raise awareness and develop more inexpensive recovery programs to begin to fight against the addiction of self-injury.

Methods
The mission of this essay is to define the problem of self-injury on college campuses and demonstrate the need for awareness and recovery programs to battle against self-injury. One interview was conducted, a dictionary consulted, and three articles were examined. The interview took place through email with a female that has suffered from the addiction of self-injury. The interview was conducted on Thursday, March 18, 2010 at ten o’ clock with an anonymous friend, who will be called Julie for the remainder of this report. Contact information is being withheld from this report for confidentiality purposes.
Three articles were analyzed to support the position of this essay. The first article, written by J. E. Brody (2008), is called “The Growing Wave of Teenage Self-Injury” from The New York Times. The second article, written by N. Heath, J. Toste, T. Nedecheva, and A. Charlebois (2008), is named “An Examination of Non-Suicidal Self-Injury Among College Students” from the Journal of Mental Health Counseling. The third article, written by S. Gollust, D. Eisenberg, and E. Golberstein, is called “Prevalence and Correlates of Self-Injury Among University Students” from the Journal of American College Health.
In order to compare definitions of self-injury, the Webster’s Online Dictionary was also consulted. The URL for the site is http://www.websters-online-dictionary.org.

Discussion and Conclusions
An unsafe assumption to make would be that the audience of this essay knows exactly what self-injury includes. The form of self-injury heard of the most is cutting, but many other types of self-injury exist. According to Webster’s Online Dictionary, self-injury or self-harm “refers to deliberate, intentional and socially unacceptable injury to one’s own body. This injury may be aimed at relieving otherwise unbearable emotions, sensations of unreality & numbness, or for other reasons” (Webster’s). This definition allows many types of injury to be covered when talking about self-injury. Any harm found intentional to the body could be considered self-injury. This includes but is not limited to: cutting, burning, bruising, breaking of bones, inducing vomit, and taking pills unnecessarily. In N. Heath, J. Toste, T. Nedecheva, and A. Charlebois’ (2008) report, they quote the International Network for the Study of Self-Injury’s (ISSS) definition of self-injury:
The deliberate, self-inflicted destruction of body tissue resulting in immediate damage, without suicidal intent and for purposes not socially sanctioned. As such, this behavior is distinguished from: suicidal behaviors involving an intent to die, drug overdoses, and other forms of self-injurious behaviors, including culturally-sanctioned behaviors performed for display or aesthetic purposes; repetitive, stereotypical forms found among individuals with developmental disorders and cognitive disabilities, and severe forms (e.g., self-immolation and auto-castration) found among individuals with psychosis. (ISSS, 2007) (as quoted in Heath, Toste, Nedecheva, and Charlebois, 2008, pp.138).
The ISSS (2007) definition specifies more directly on what self-injury is and is not. Self-Injury is not an attempt at suicide or a socially accepted behavior. Out of the behaviors mentioned earlier, this definition would include: cutting, burning, bruising, and the intentional breaking of bones. College students may argue that self-injurers have the right to do what they please, which although true, does not mean self-injury should be condoned. When a person self-injures, he or she usually has emotional problems, which cause them to hurt his or herself in the first place. College campuses should not allow such a violent act against the bodies of adolescents and young adults, but rather provide help for the emotional aspect and awareness of the dangerous issue. In order to provide help and awareness, one must know the signs of a self-injurer.
What if the self-injurer was a friend, co-worker, classmate, or neighbor? How would one know if his or her best friend was a self-injurer unless the friend told him or her? The signs of a self-injurer vary from person to person, and sometimes do not occur at all. Signifiers will help in most cases to determine whether someone self-injures. Julie believes some signs of a self-injurer include “hiding from people, not wanting to be touched, wearing long sleeves and pants all the time, cuts or burns that they say they don’t anything about, having razors blades or other sharp items with them, or having a lighter and not being a smoker” (personal communication, March 18, 2010). Julie also claims the signs she portrays are “[she does not] like to be touched but for more then just this reason, [she carries] a lighter around but [she does] not smoke and [she wears] pants a lot. [She] also wears a sweatband on one wrist to cover up [her] scars” (personal communication, March 18, 2010). Those actions prevail among self-injurers. Many self-injurers start losing focus in school and their grades drop, become secluded from friends and family, or lose interest in activities they loved, because they become scared they will be looked down upon if they are discovered. College students may view hiding the addiction of self-injury as the self-injurer’s choice, which with the students should not interfere. Once again, the self-injurer may not feel that hiding the addiction is a choice, but rather a necessity in order to not be looked down upon. Self-injurers feel the need to hide because they do not think the people around them will help them, which is why colleges need to help rather than condemn the self-injurer.
College campuses stand at the top for amount of people who self-injure on average at an institution. According to J. Brody (2008), 17 percent of college students have self-injured (pp.1). N. Heath et al (2008) claims about 12 percent of college students self-injure (pp.149), while S. Gollust, D. Eisenberg, and E. Golberstein (2008) say the prominence on college campuses is about 7 percent (pp.493). Considering that most self-injurers will not report their addiction, even to anonymous surveys, these percentages show facts colleges cannot ignore. Ignoring this problem will mean ignoring the large population of students because society would rather help the alcoholic or the smoker than deal with a less socially sanctioned addiction. College “students who injure themselves are unlikely to seek help, yet they are at risk for experiencing significant anxiety, distress, and suicidal thoughts” (S. Gollust et al, 2008, pp.497). And while “60 percent of self-injurers have never had suicidal thoughts, self-injury can be a harbinger of suicidal behavior. It can also accidently result in suicide” (J. Brody, 2008, pp.2). Should that friend, co-worker, classmate, or neighbor accidentally die because of universities’ ignorance and unwillingness to help with the issue? No? Then the following recommendations should be abided by in order to prevent an accidental death from happening.

Recommendations
One recommendation I make is to raise awareness, not only about the issue, but also about how self-injurers can receive help. S. Gollust et al suggests, “Colleges, composing a unique constellation of potential supports including residential life, social networks, health services, and mental health services, could have an important role in the detection, prevention, and treatment of self-injury at a critical stage in young people’s lives” (pp.497). If colleges would use the resources they have to reach out to students, half the battle would be won against self-injury. Another recommendation would be to limit the amount of material on the Internet that promotes self-injurious behavior. Many pro-self-injury sites thrive on the web, but because of first amendment rights, no one is willing to take a stand against those unnecessary sites. If enough students were willing to take a stand a petition against those sites, the websites could be removed. The last recommendation I have is to begin more non-profit organizations to help self-injurers on the path of recovery. Programs like Alcoholics Anonymous exist for alcoholics, but not many free programs that can support recovery for self-injurers. If these three recommendations were followed through with, the fight to solve self-injury would have a great beginning.

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Katie's paper (Part 1)

Post by Steph on Mon Jun 28, 2010 7:48 pm

Hey gals, I'm going to put my paper that I just turned in this past week on this board. It talks about the misconceptions people have of self-injury, and i thought everyone could leave their opinion on how well (or poorly) I have approached the topic and If I hit about everything. It may be ***TRIGGERING***, so if you think you will be triggered, please don't continue. It had to be about 4 pages, so its kinda long.


In the book, The Beast: A Reckoning with Depression, Tracy Thompson wrote, “Better to inflict pain on myself than to let other people do it” (qtd. in Boyer). That statement is the cry of many self-injurers. Imagine this: an adolescent who has little independence nor control over the situations around her. Current American society tells her that to be accepted she must be a size zero. Her parents are expecting her not to just do her best, but to exceed that in everything she does. The pressure is all on her, and nothing she does ever helps her feel happy or relaxed. This girl reads about self-injury on the internet and tries it out herself. Locking herself in the bathroom, she finds her dad’s shaving kit and steals a blade. She cuts herself. The act gives her more relief than she has ever felt before and she cuts again. She could not care less about the pain because all she is focused on is the feeling of control she has in that moment of time.
Would the girl in the story be considered a monster? Or would the world attempt to reach out to her and help? Four percent of the world’s population deals with the addiction of self-injury (“Facts”). This means that one in every twenty-five people deal with self-injury, whether that is cutting, burning, intentional bruising or breaking of bones, or many other types of self-injury. Sadly, but as few as three percent of the self-injuring population, seek medical help for their addiction (Lloyd-Richardson et al. 1187). Why is that percentage low? I believe it is because today’s society is too quick to judge and forms many misconceptions about topics that are “out of the norm” to them. Self-Injury is not an attempt at suicide, or an attention seeking behavior, but rather an addiction that is misperceived by society and needs to be clarified.
Self-injury is more prominent than society believes. According to “Characteristics and Functions of Non-Suicidal Self-Injury in a Community Sample of Adolescents”, a report done by National Institutes of Health, “38% of college students” have a history of non-suicidal self-injury (qtd. in Lloyd-Richardson et al. 1184). When walking across a college campus, a student could run into almost two students for every five that have struggled with self-injury. For a college like Anderson University, that means that 1,026 out of the 2,700 students on campus have suffered from some type of self-harm. In the November 2008 issue of “Psychiatry”, an article named “Non-Suicidal Self-Injury in Adolescents” claims that “recent community studies have found that one-third to one-half of adolescents in the US have engaged in some type of non-suicidal self-injury” (Peterson et al. 22). With the overwhelming amount of people who self-injure, the addiction is not biased to any type of person.
There is a fictitious belief that self-injury occurs more often in females, or in Caucasians, or in impoverished people. The study done by the National Institutes of Health corrects that belief by reporting that, “there were no significant differences between groups by age, sex, socio-economic status, living situation, or region of the country” (Lloyd-Richardson et al. 1188). The study was conducted with a sample of adolescents, so the age difference it is referring to is within the adolescent age, not between infants and the elderly. This report proves that there is not one person that is more vulnerable than another to become a self-injurer. How can the percentages be so high and in discriminatory, yet so many people are unaware of the issue or have misconceptions about what self-injury truly is? One reason may be because people think that anyone who is willing to hurt themselves intentionally must be psychotic or a monster and no one in their right mind would want to become associated with that.
People who self-injure are neither monsters nor psychotic. My friend that has suffered from self-injury for seven years (who shall remain anonymous, so for the purposes of this paper her name will be Julie) refused to get help for her addiction because she thought other people would think she was “all emo[tional] and crazy” (Anonymous). That idea is one misconception society has about self-injurers. Self-injury is not any different than smoking or alcoholism. When drinking alcohol or smoking a cigarette, one is slowly killing themselves through blackening his or her lungs or poisoning his or her liver. Self-injury may even be safer when it comes to not having any long term affects to health. Yet, society still perceives self-injury as a monstrous act and tries its best to help the alcoholic and the smoker. Why does society accept some forms of destructive behavior but not all of them?
All the aforementioned destructive behaviors are addictions, which is another concept society does not understand about self-injury. Self-injury is an addiction, not an action committed for kicks and giggles. In his article, Peterson states, “Once started, self injury seems to acquire addictive characteristics and can be quite difficult for a person to discontinue” (Peterson et al. 22). Julie reinforces this statement as well. When I asked her if she had, “Any last thoughts or input [she] want[ed] to say to have [her] voice be heard about self-injury?”, she replied, “people need to understand that it really is a problem that it is an addiction we need help much like some one who does drugs or drinks to much” (Anonymous). Self-injury is an addiction; therefore, it cannot be stopped on a whim. When a self-injurer harms oneself, the feeling they experience is what he or she depends on. That feeling can be composed of different emotions or necessities, depending on what the self-injurer is looking for by harming his or herself.
Many people misperceive that self-injurers either harm for no reason, harm for attention, or they harm to kill themselves. That may be true in a small amount of cases, but false in the majority of cases. At times, a self-injurer harms because they want to feel numb. Yet sometimes, it may be because the self-injurer wants to feel something again. According to the study, “Characteristics and Functions of Non-Suicidal Self-Injury in a Community Sample of Adolescents”, some reasons for self injury include: “to relieve negative emotions, such as anxiety guilt, loneliness, alienation, or self hatred; to relieve unpleasant thoughts or feelings; to release anger; tension or emotional pain; to provide a sense of…control; to punish self;…to end…flashbacks or racing thoughts” (Lloyd-Richardson et al. 1184). Those are many of the feelings that self-injurers feel.
The organization, To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA), spreads awareness about the issue of self-injury. On their website, they provide more reasons that support and add to what the study reported. The website states, “Emptiness, inability to understand or express feelings, loneliness, fear, past abuse, [and] depression” are reasons that some may self-injure (“Facts”). For Julie, it was an action, that when made, she “felt better and at first [she] thought [she] had control over [her] self-injury” (Anonymous). Self-injury is a way to cope with emotions that a person does not think they can cope with, unless provided a way of escape. When a person harms, adrenaline is released, which makes the self-injurer feel alive and focused on the action being committed. The reasons a person is harming are put behind him or her and a feeling of relief or control is accomplished. Self-injury provides a false sense of the problems vanishing, even though in reality, the problems have not been fixed in the slightest.
Self-injury is a serious matter that needs society to become aware of it. The consequences of self-injury could regretfully come to suicide, though that may not be the intention of the self-injurer. The mere fact that a person experiences enough pain to feel as if he or she needs to rely on self-injury instead of another means to relieve his or her emotions is a reality that needs to be brought to the attention of society. Has the world become so cruel that no compassion can be spared for a self-injurer? I hope not. Julie perfectly stated it when she said, “We are humans and want to feel like we are important we just have a weird way to cope at times” (Anonymous).

(Original post by Katie)

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Picture This...

Post by Steph on Mon Jun 28, 2010 7:52 pm

"There is this girl, she smiles and laughs and has a good time. She looks like a happy teenager, that enjoys life. She walks home with her friends from school, she laughs at the jokes, she looks pretty happy. She says bye to her friends hugs them all before walking through the door. She walks through the front door and quickly races to her room. She falls straight on her bed covers her face in her pillow and cries. The smile she had and the laughter you hear has disappeared. All you hear are the never ending tears. She gets herself off the bed and heads for her dresser drawer, she grabs a ring box and inside that ring box is a NOT a ring, but a blade, she locks the bedroom door and cuts her wrist. She cuts her wrist to help release her from hidden pain thats deep inside. She wears long sleeves or chunky bracelets to hide the cuts, no one notices. She stares in the mirror in the bathrooms at school, at the shops and at home and starts thinking she is fat. So she starts throwing up everything she ate, she would exercise more then normal, soon she gets obessed and ditches her friends to exercise. Her grades at school are dropping and her attitude slowly changes. She starts to fall deeper into depression. She dreads being home, she hates going to school cause of bullies. BUT she is too afraid to speak up, she has a hidden past that only she knows about and starts to eat away at her. Soon she starts hating herself more and her life, so she thinks about suicide. She just wants to end it all. She lives a life of pain and hurt, all she ever wanted was for someone to care for her, love her. BUT she doesn't feel any of that. She Overdoses on anything she can get her hands on, but instead, it did nothing, except make her really sick. Her body can't handle food cause of the starving herself. She can't wear dresses and HATES the summer season cause of all the scars and cuts on her wrist. She gets more depressed."

This is a story of a teen girl who struggles EVERYDAY. Now this scene i wrote cause people think cutting isn't a cry for help that its purely for the ATTENTION. It bugs me when people judge a cutter. AND i wanted a way to express how a teenage girl can hide away the pain and still LOOK like a happy girl. I want people to know it is a cry for help, its a serious habit that is dangerous. I want people to know that suicide is serious, i want people to know that yes they need attention, but not the attention they think they want. They want someone to notice they are hurting, they want someone to realise that its a cry for help. ((i don't think i am making sense..))

**in the end, the girl was saved from taking her own life. She has grown alot in last 2 years and is slowly learning to lean on God in the hard times. She sometimes stumbles but she doesn't give up, she keeps fighting. It only took one person to reach out to that girl and notice she was hurting and had alot of emotional pain. She was a mess, she was a cutter, she had an ED, she wanted to suicide, but that one person reaching out and God speaking through her, changed her life. That night she fell on her bed and buried her head in the pillows, but instead of racing to the dresser drawer for the ring box, she cried and reached out to God.**

the end part is about how someone realised this girl was hurting emotionally and physically thorugh self harm. They reached their hand out to her and it stopped this girl from suicide. Through that hand and person, God spoke. It changed that girls life. It gave her a reason to live.. NOW the point of this was, even if just ONE person reached out to another person it can touch their life forever, it can change it forever too.

SORRY IF I DIDN'T MAKE ANY SENSE IN THE BOLD PARTS..!!

(Original post by Mandy)

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Re: Self Harm Awareness

Post by Krystal on Fri Feb 10, 2012 10:11 pm

I hated those Outpatient therapists should never demand that clients sign a "no-harm contracts." It doesn't help. should the patient decide to do it to cope is there choice and they shouldn't be punished for it. they already feel that they punished there selfs.
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Re: Self Harm Awareness

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