How art has helped my mental health

Uncategorized Mar 01, 2022

How art has helped my mental health

Art has been so important for my mental health and it is something that may help you too. 

I have always loved creating art and not only does it help me to unwind but to communicate my thoughts and feelings. Once I have finished a painting, I find it comforting and empowering to know that it represents a little part of my mind and that my thoughts can be illustrated in ways that I didn’t know they could be. Particularly when I am stressed, painting is almost like a weight lifted off my shoulders and onto the page.

Like many people, I like to use art as a way to relax. Art has this healing power that is unlike any type of therapy or mental health support. The act of actually putting paint on a canvas, or pencil to paper, helps you escape from everyday problems and just ‘slow down’. Some people with mental health problems or people struggling with their mental health find that making art significantly improves their mood....

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5 top tips for helping your teen manage their social anxiety

For many young people, social situations – whether it’s going to school, birthday parties, or a sporting event – can be a very overwhelming and intimidating situation for even the most confident, outgoing teen, but for the quiet, shy, or anxious teen, it can be an exceptionally scary situation. 

My experience of dealing with my social anxiety was that I wished my parents would accept me for myself and wouldn’t get frustrated at me for being ‘different’ from other teens. I needed them to validate my feelings during my anxiety at social situations instead of downplaying them all the time. 

I’m writing this blog to try to help you support your own child’s anxiety during the challenges of social situations.

How can you help your child manage their social anxiety?

It can be heart-breaking to watch your teen struggle in social situations, especially when these situations are meant to be fun and exciting for your child, but these...

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Is social media bad for your child’s mental health?

social media Feb 21, 2022

Social media has exploded in recent years and the media is full of stories that it’s having a profoundly negative impact on young people. Lots of parents are worried that their children are constantly checking posts and never a few feet away from their phone…

BUT IS IT ALL BAD?

And SHOULD YOU BE PROTECTING YOUR CHILD from the dangers of social media?

Let’s start with the BAD!

Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying is bullying through social media or other digital platforms (email, forum posts etc). Young people regularly tell us about the distress and anxiety they feel when a friend or fellow student posts an embarrassing photo, or shares private stories on social media or even send upsetting or threatening messages. Cyberbullying will negatively impact any child but is particularly dangerous when a young person already has fragile mental health. It can further lower their self-esteem, cause feelings of shame and isolation and add to the anxiety and depression they may be...

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How do you know if your child has been traumatised?

childhood trauma Feb 10, 2022

It could be losing a close friend or family member, or the separation of parents, or experiencing a broken home, or constant changes such as moving schools or houses, or emotional or physical abuse. 

These are just a few examples of traumatic events that can leave an emotional mark that young people, like myself, can’t seem to shake off.

My personal experience of dealing with several traumatic events in my childhood and teens, was that I wish my parents had tried to understand what I was going through and done more to help me cope during this tumultuous time with their reassurance, support, and love.

I’m writing this blog to try to help you support your own child.

Signs of trauma:

Trauma comes from the immense hurt, grief and pain that a young person is holding onto from a certain distressing situation and is finding it difficult to move on. Each young person will cope with challenging life events differently, and what will traumatise one, will not have the same...

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Might my child’s self-harm escalate to suicide?

Uncategorized Feb 08, 2022

It is distressing enough to think about your child self-harming, but what about the extra worry that it could get worse and your child could be considering suicide? 

Many parents are deeply concerned about this, especially when they hear the facts that young people with a history of self-harm are: 

  • 6 times more likely to make a suicide plan
  • 9 times more likely to make a suicide attempt

The truth is, only a small proportion of young people who self-harm become suicidal. The majority of them say that they have never considered suicide (60%).

What’s the BIG difference between self-harm and suicide?

Although self-harm can seem like it is directly linked to suicide, they are very different. Self-harm is a way to cope with life, compared to suicide which is a way to end it. The thinking involved is often very different because self-harm can be a way to help manage life and keep going, which is the opposite intention to suicide. Also, for some children and teens, the pain...

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5 things NOT to say to a child who self-harms

Supporting a child or teen who self-harms, will be one of the most stressful and difficult times of your life. But you have to be careful about showing your child how upset and worried you are. You see, there will be many times when they’ll trigger a strong knee-jerk reaction from you, but it’s often advisable to hide this. Your unrestrained reaction can be unhelpful, as it reveals all the strong anxieties and worries you have inside. What they actually need to see in you is a strong, stable, loving parent, that they can rely on during this tumultuous time in their life. Even if it’s just a front!

So in our experience, knowing what NOT TO SAY at times you feel triggered and upset is really important to work out in advance.  

Here are 5 things NOT to say to your self-harming child: 

#1 Please don’t do it again today

This statement can come from a place of love and wanting to protect your child. That’s totally understandable. But pressuring...

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Why do young people find it hard to stop self-harming?

self harm support Jan 27, 2022

Why do young people find it hard to stop self-harming?

 There can be many reasons why your teen is self-harming, but there is one main reason they find it so hard to stop – although deeply unhealthy, it’s the most effective coping mechanism they’ve found for the troubles in their life!

But the short-term relief they feel after self-harming, soon gives way to strong negative feelings, which in turn need to be managed. And that's why young people find themselves in an endless cycle of self-harm.

Why does your teen self-harm?

In my experience, the most common reasons for young people self-harming are:


Why is it so hard to stop?                                               

When asked, a lot of young people can't explain why they’re self-harming, but it’s commonly understood that the pain of hurting themselves is a distraction from...

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‘I found strength I didn’t know I had’: Mum helps other parents after realising her daughter was self-harming

Uncategorized Jan 25, 2022

Here’s a great article by  from the Evening Express in Scotland. It’s about our founder - Claire Sutton and tells the story of how Claire supported her own teenage daughter’s recovery from self-harm...and now uses her experience to support other parents all around the world through the Youth Mental Health Foundation.

Claire Sutton admits it’s a very difficult experience to process when you find out your child is self-harming.

But she soon learned not to react with her own emotions to help her daughter Jade in the best way she could.

It would be a tough time for any parent. And it was a really intense time for Claire who was pregnant, exhausted, and caring for a baby, all while her husband was working away from home.

She is now turning her attention to families in the north-east, helping them through the potentially similar issues she faced herself.

‘There’s so many questions parents have’

“When you...

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5 common myths about self-harm

Uncategorized Jan 25, 2022

There are a lot of myths about children and teen’s self-harming in the media that need correcting. Some of these myths cause parents even more fear and alarm and are more than unhelpful.

Knowing the differences between what is true and not true will help you better understand why your child is self-harming and how you can better support their recovery.

Self-harm always leads to suicide 

The most frightening thing for a parent is the thought that your child could be thinking about ending their life. The assumption that self-injury always leads to suicide is NOT TRUE.

Self-harm is actually a way of coping with emotional stress and the way your child seeks some sort of relief from how they’re currently feeling. 

Examples of things that could be behind your child’s self-harm are include: 

They may feel lonely

Underlying mental health condition

Low body confidence

And many more everyday stressors

Bullying

Pressure at school

...

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Is your child self-harming in ways you haven’t spotted?

Uncategorized Jan 18, 2022

Discovering that your child is self-harming is profoundly shocking and upsetting for every parent; but it’s quite likely that your child is self-harming in ways you haven't even noticed.

Self-harming is an epidemic that affects young people across the world*: 

  • 1-in-6 young people self-harm in the UK
  • 1-in-5 teen girls self-harm in the USA
  • 1-in-4 teen girls self-harm in the Australia 

Types of self-harm

Most of the coverage of self-harm in the media focuses on cutting, referencing children with self-inflicted wounds on their arms. But the reality is, this is only one form of self-harm, and many other forms get overlooked. 

The following list will help you identify other ways that your child may be self harming:

Most Common

  • Scratching
  • Pinching
  • Cutting
  • Burning
  • Hair pulling 
  • Ripped skin

Less Common and often overlooked

  • Eating too much/too little
  • Excessive   exercise 
  • Isolating themselves

These often...

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