Archive for June, 2013

When Helping Others Is Not Helping

Friday, June 28th, 2013

I will approach this article from different perspectives as below:

  1. Helping people who do not want to be helped
  2. Helping people from the professionals own misdirected objectives
  3. Abandoning help for people too soon


  1. There are many young people who need our help for a variety of reasons to assist them in moving forwards with their lives, which includes young people who self harm.They may approach you for help but on the face of it, it appears that they really don’t want our help, which poses a dichotomy for helping professionals. What do you do in that situation? The likelihood is that they do want and need your help. They may approach you for help possibly to please someone else who has encouraged or pushed them in that direction of seeking the help, however, they themselves may not be ready or in a position to deal with the issues at hand that gaining the help may touch on, including the reason for their self harming behaviour. The other aspect of this scenario is that the benefits and advantages that they gain from their circumstances may well outweigh the benefits and disadvantages of being in their situation. In this situation, a skilled helping professional would assist them in gaining a balanced view of their situation to enable them to be in a position to make more rational, realistic, balanced and healthier choices in their lives. Removing the negatives from their situation creates a vacuum in their lives, which then must be filled with benefits and positive options and strategies, which in turn must provide sufficient motivation for them than the dis-benefits previously provided. The helping professional’s self harm awareness would also assist in managing the situation if the young person self harms.
  2.  The other perspective of this discussion is that of helping professionals being mis-directed somewhat in their need to help the young person. That is to say that the helping professional is either consciously or unconsciously helping the young person in order to meet their own unmet needs, which may also serve as an opportunity to solve their own unresolved issues.It is important for helping professionals to be clear about their intentions to help young people at that given moment in time, as well as being conscious of what they might be projecting on to others, the young client included.
  3. The other important aspect of helping young people is for helping professionals not to release young people too soon from the intervention provided, before sufficient rapport and/or trust has been allowed to be developed and created. I have heard of too many examples where young people have been discharged or released from much needed intervention after one or two sessions because they ‘wouldn’t open up and talk’ or divulge information about their circumstances. We must be mindful that people who have been referred to helping professionals generally have a distrust of people around. Helping professionals are no exception to this rule! A skilled helping professional, however, would be mindful of this, and work with the young person accordingly to develop rapport and gain their trust before expecting them to divulge the real reason that they are there. Most often than not, the young person will initially reveal superficial and surface level issues to you, in order to test boundaries and to test YOU to see how you deal with these issues. Only after they are satisfied in some way or other with how you have dealt with the peripheries, will they be in a position to gravitate towards divulging greater issues.

The bottom line is for helping professionals to be mindful of how they are helping young people.

Self Harm From a Student’s Perspective

Monday, June 24th, 2013

Self harm is when someone decides to take out their problems toward themselves in a deliberate way. Some people may only ever self harm once in their lifetime but some people do continue throughout their life until they seek help to deal with their issues. Many people find it to be a way that helps them deal with problems and it becomes the norm when dealing with stress.

Recent research has suggested that 1 in 10 teenagers aged 15 – 16 years old have self harmed. No one knows what the root cause is for self harming due to so many different people that self harm. Self harming could be a way that people feel they can block out pain from a previous experience that has happened to them but also some people self harm to deal with the stresses of life, hence why so many young people might self harm because they don’t know how to deal with life in a productive way and find it hard to seek help because they might feel embarrassed or that something is wrong with them. Some people who self harm sometimes go on to commit suicide but generally people find another way to deal with their problems.

Recent research shows that young people who self harm tend to learn how to deal with their problems in a different way in adulthood but some people don’t and if this is the case the NHS or GP would refer the individual to a mental health professional. This could be with a Counsellor, Psychiatrist or Psychologist. The Hospital has a fantastic serviced  called CCHP which stands for Community Children’s Health Partnership which has a team called CAMHS who support children, young people, their families and carers during crisis situations, providing risk assessments, coping strategies and identifying support systems. These are just small examples that the government has realised that self harm is a very serious problem and they do have systems active to try and prevent and deal with people who self harm.

I strongly believe that more could be done to help prevent young people self harming especially students, and for the staff to have more self harm awareness. When I was at university I was constantly under pressure to try and make sure I get good grades and manage my financial budget. Loads of students wouldn’t know how to deal with the stresses of university and a lot of students turned to drinking, drugs and self harming and from what I remember there wasn’t much information in regards to dealing with stress at university. They did have services to help students with various problems but due to the amount of young people that self harm I believe that if students had to attend a compulsory lecture from a NHS professional discussing self harm or dealing with stress then students would know more about different ways to deal with the stresses of university and life. A lot of students study away from home and it is the first time that they are away from their families and this means learning to deal with the general problems of life, sometimes in isolation, as well as having to focus on attaining good grades. This can be a very lonely time for students and especially if they find it hard to make friends or have financial problems. I knew of students that self harmed and you wouldn’t have guessed that they self harmed.  Sometimes it’s the people that you don’t expect that are the ones you should expect.

Written By:

Marlon W Powell (BA), Graduate