top of page

3 Myths About Teens Who Self-harm

There’s been an influx of talk in my social circles recently about teens and self-harm so I tapped into the wisdom of licensed clinical social worker Seida Hood of From the Heart Counseling in Plainfield, Illinois, to dive into a few myths about teens who self-harm.

Cutting (deliberately cutting or scratching with sharp objects), burning the skin, overdosing, and strangulation are the ways 6 – 30 % of teenagers in the United States have injured themselves. While not intended to be suicidal, self-harm is an unhealthy way to cope with emotional pain, anger, and trauma, making these individuals more prone to anxiety, depression, and disassociation (APA, 2015).

If you or a loved one is battling any kind of self-harm or mental health concern, reach out to Seida or a professional in your area for support. - Elizabeth


You’re only considered someone who self-harms if you cut yourself.
If you self-harm, it’s the same as wanting to kill yourself.
People who self-harm are crazy.

I’m sure you have probably heard all of these statements made if you’re alive today. Self-harm is such a taboo topic. Many people are scared to address self-harm for fear of making the situation worse. Mental health itself carries a stigma, yet somehow, we find certain mental illnesses more tolerable than others. For example, Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder is common and therefore considered “normal” vs. Bipolar I Disorder, which is considered "crazy".

Today I want to help debunk 3 myths about teens who struggle with self-harming behaviors.

3 Myths About Teens Who Self-Harm...

MYTH #1 - They don't want to get better

Why this is false...Teens actually want to get better! They just don't know how to get better! Teens who self-harm require special support, because many people don't understand self-harm. Many teens don't necessarily want to kill themselves. They simply want a way to relieve their pain.

MYTH #2 - Self-harm is only an issue for teens in broken homes

Why this is false...This issue affects all races, classes, economic statuses, it's a common misconception to think that it's just a {insert specific group of people} problem. Sometimes popular teens can struggle with self-harm due to the pressure to be perfect or maintain perfect status. Teens dealing with depression {not always} can struggle with self-harm, because it's the only way they feel they can get relief or control. Some people self-harm to escape their reality.

MYTH #3 - They can't get better

Why this is false...Teens who self-harm can recover! It doesn't matter how long your teen has struggled with self-harm - they can recover! Self-harm recovery requires the right blend of supports in combination with a strong desire to get better. Teens who struggle with self-harm are often isolated and feel misunderstood. This often negatively contributes to the cycle of self-harm.


About the Author:

Seida Hood, LCSW is the CEO and Clinical Director of From the Heart Counseling, Inc. in Plainfield, Illinois. In addition to individual counseling sessions, Seida hosts FTHC Tribe, an online community offering local and online workshops of support.

Follow Seida on Instagram and Facebook

Follow From the Heart Counseling on Instagram and Facebook

“I believe that every relationship can recover from even the most tragic events. Will it be easy? No. Will it be quick? No. But if you're willing to do the work, I will do my best to help guide you down a path that not only leads to stability - but a thriving, successful life!

I am not the type of therapist to glaze over the white elephant in the room. I am willing to get "down in the trenches" and do the nitty gritty work it's going to take to move forward. When I say that we can talk about anything in therapy, I DO mean anything. The only way to move forward is to confront the things that hold us back. I will challenge you to think outside of the box.” -Seida Hood


This article was originally published on From the Heart Counseling blog, October 6, 2020.


DeAngelis, Tori. “Who Self-Injures?” Monitor on Psychology, American Psychological Association, 2015,


bottom of page