According to a study done last year, one in every 10 students has considered harming themselves at some point in their life. With recent news headlines discussing people who cut off limbs because they are “at war with their bodies,” and magazine covers insisting self-mutilation is a good thing in order to call someone “Caitlin,” is this really a shock that more and more of our students are also trending this way? The numbers insist that at least a handful of our students here at ZPC are probably dealing with this issue now, or have dealt with it in the past.
So how can we help them? How can we even know if they’re doing this? I think the article outlines some ways to combat this growing trend of self-harm. One person in the article described being in relationship with three different therapists. I don’t think we necessarily have to all take our kids to therapists, but students having relationships with caring adults, (in addition to their parents) is a positive thing. Statistics show that having 5 adults investing into a student increases that student’s chance of sticking with their faith.
At the end of the article, another idea says, “legitimizing their feelings is the first step to recovery.” This is an incredible statement and so very true. Much of what our students are going through can be solved by someone who is there to understand, empathize, and struggle through the pain with them. All we have to do is think back to our time in Middle School and we can instantly become the friend we so desperately desired at that time in our life.
Discussion questions with MS students – Have you ever harmed yourself or ever thought about it? What made you do it or not do it? Have any of your friends? What would you do if you found out a friend was thinking about harming themselves?