Self harm help for parents

The Parent's Guide to Self Harm

Article by Charlotte Fantelli

Finding out your child is self-harming, is a parent’s nightmare. Feelings of helplessness, guilt, shock, denial and confusion can overwhelm families. With the subject as taboo and under-discussed, parents often feel isolated and not knowing where to turn for help.

Self-harm may be a subject that is not often tackled, but that doesn’t mean it is rare, it actually affects more than 1 in 15 young people and the UK has higher rates than anywhere else in Europe. Shockingly only 12% of those who self-harm actually receive professional care, this leaves parents often having to cope alone. 



Launched on 27th July, ’The Parent's Guide to Self-Harm: What Parents Need to Know’ written by Jane Smith, may just be the survival guide parents of self-harmers are in desperate need of.

The book draws on the personal and professional experience of the author, who herself has helped her teenage daughters through the problem. Jane says: ”When two of my daughters began to self-harm in their teenage years, we were desperate with fear and heartache. We had never experienced anything like this before, and never thought we would, so it was a huge shock.”

After the shock and fear, Jane and her husband had to face the challenges parenting self-harming daughters brought: “As it continued, we were forced to learn about self-harming, how to gently steer our daughters towards recovery, and to discover how to support them. We also learned about the impact it had on our younger child and on our relationship as husband and wife, and about what we needed in order to cope and hold our family together.

“We discovered why our daughters felt the need to self-harm and we learned about injuries, wounds, treatment and therapy.”

Through working together as a family, they have come out the other side: “Neither of them self-harms any more. Despite the long journey towards recovery and some periods of relapse, my daughters now consider it past.”

‘What Parents Need to Know’ is the first book on self-harm written for parents by parents. The book provides parents with the advice and encouragement they need to support their child through to recovery.
 It answers crucial questions like: 



  • Why is my child self-harming?
  • How should I approach my child?
  • How have other parents coped?
  • What can I do to help my child recover? 

  • What help and treatment is available? 


The book has been highly praised with Dr Jane Sutton, PhD, CPsychol, AFBPsS Chartered psychologist and lecturer at the University of Bath, saying: “A book that will be of immense value, not only to parents but to people like me who want to help young people but find there are very few resources out there that give practical advice. This book fills that gap and is beautifully written.”

You can buy your copy here:

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