Self-Harm Prevention

The Self-Harm Prevention or The Youth Mental Wellness Project is a special project run by InReach educating teens about depression, suicide, and self-harming behaviors in order to remove the obstacles preventing them from seeking treatment and to provide effective mental health treatment for those teens. This will function under our Counseling Clinic program. InReach runs this program in Boulder County High Schools.

Nationally, 1 in 6 adolescents are involved in self harm practices. In Boulder County, this number is 1 in 5. The goal of this program is to decrease this trend.

Hopelessness leading to harmful behavior in teens

Many youth in our community suffer devastating emotional distress. Twenty-five percent of teens in grades 9-12 reported feeling sad or hopeless in the past year. Heartbreakingly, 22.6% of youth who felt that way reported that they had no one to talk to about these feelings. These feelings get transformed into some scary behaviors. Twenty percent (that is 1 in 5) of high school students engaged in cutting or burning without the intent to commit suicide. Ten percent of teens had used substances including cocaine, inhalants, heroin, methamphetamines, ecstasy, or other illegal drugs.

Thirteen percent of teens seriously thought about suicide. Tragically, 41% of all deaths in this age group were due to suicide.

The stigma with seeking help

Unfortunately, many teens view seeking help for these problems as stigmatizing. Kids want to believe they can help themselves or get help from their friends.

Unfortunately, their friends are not equipped with the tools to help and are often burdened under the weighty concern that their friend will act on suicidal thoughts or fatally hurt themselves by cutting or burning themselves or becoming involved with dangerous drugs. Often sworn to secrecy by their misled friend, they feel helpless and trapped.

The second place teens turn for help is the Internet. While there is useful information available, teens may be drawn to chat rooms where other teens offer even more destructive ways to engage in self-harm. Cutting, in particular, seems to have an almost contagious effect. Once a teen confesses to a friend that he/she is cutting, it appears to open the door for their friend to consider engaging in cutting the next time they are in emotional pain. There is research evidence from clinical settings that demonstrates that the tendency to cut spreads through a population.

Removing the Stigma

Remove the stigma from receiving treatment for depression, suicidal ideation, and self-injurious behavior including eating disorders and substance abuse.

Effective Skills Training Groups

Provide effective skills training groups (Dialectical Behavior Therapy or DBT groups) that teens can use instead of cutting or sinking into the depths of depression or acting out in other non-productive ways.

Empowerment

Empower teens with information based on research so that they are better equipped to provide answers, accurate facts, and resources to troubled friends so that their friend can get the help they need while they can feel helpful.

You can help this project by donating to InReach.

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