Seek medical attention for self-harm

Injuries from self-harm may require medical attention from a GP or emergency department. This might sound scary or daunting but it can actually be a good thing to help your child realise the consequences of their actions, and find out more about why this compulsive behaviour is happening.

Make sure to not blame your teenager for their actions. Help them by being supportive and assisting them with seeking the best possible care at this time of need. You may want to ask them how you can best support them or what you can do to help. This way, you can be there for them in their recovery and work on a positive way to get through these tough times together.

When to see a GP about self-harm

If your child needs to see a GP about their self-harming, they will be able to help treat the physical impact of self-harm. They will also assess the situation and refer you and your child to a psychologist, if necessary. Sometimes, if the situation is serious enough, GPs will prescribe medication to help with self-harming thoughts, but this is rare.

When to go straight to a hospital’s emergency department for self-harm

If the self-harm becomes life-threatening, you must take your child to the hospital as soon as possible or call an ambulance. If your child is finding that they can’t keep their self-harming thoughts at bay, the staff will be able to help them to stop or prevent them from harming themselves again.

Visiting the emergency department will assist with serious injury and may provide preventative measures to try to stop recurring self-harming behaviour.

The GP or treating doctor might refer your child to a psychologist or counsellor who will help them learn to understand their emotions and develop more effective coping skills. Keep in mind, if your teenager needs to go to hospital for self-harm, they will have to meet with a mental health professional to assess their situation while they are there. They will be asked about their intention to harm themselves as part of a risk assessment.

Headspace centres also have GPs and psychologists that your child can access on their own if necessary.