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Self-harm, or the act of hurting oneself to cope with difficult emotions, can be very dangerous. Watching a loved one self-harm can be emotionally devastating and overwhelming. Often it can be hard to understand the act of self-harm for those who have never experienced the urge to hurt themselves deliberately. If someone you care about is exhibiting self-harm behaviors, you may be struggling with how best to approach them about that struggle. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

Leave Judgement Behind 

Sometimes it can be hard to understand the mental health struggles that others are experiencing. As an outsider, it can feel like the actions and thought processes of a close friend or family member do not make sense to us. It is okay not to understand the struggles of your loved one. Leave judgment behind and support your loved one in whatever way they need.

Acknowledge Their Feelings 

Acknowledge what they are feeling. Help them to vocalize their feelings and the issues they are struggling with. You may be able to help them begin to communicate and work through intense emotions. This can also help you start to understand their struggles and mental health better.

Express Your Concerns 

Self-harm is scary. You are probably concerned for the overall well-being of your loved one. It is okay to tell them that. Not only does that help them understand how their actions affect you, but it helps you process your own feelings as well. Your mental health is just as important as your loved one’s mental health. Work on your own healing and self-expression even as you help others.

Offer Help in Finding Professional Support 

Offer assistance in researching different professional support options. There are many different treatment types and professionals. It can be overwhelming trying to figure out what is best for you. Offer your loved one support and help as they try to find a mental health care provider. Offering assistance may help them to feel more supported and confident in seeking the support they need.

Self-harm can be a dangerous act and can often be intertwined with other mental health issues. Watching a loved one struggle can be overwhelming. Try to approach your loved one without judgment. Offer assistance seeking support, acknowledge their feelings, and express your concerns. Here at The Guest House, we understand how challenging it can be to support a loved one with mental illness while not neglecting your own well-being. We are here to help. Call us today to learn more about our different treatment options at (855) 483-7800.