7. look after your own mental health
If you're worried about a teen or relation, it can be tempting to let your thoughts turn inwards. Where did I go wrong? What did I do? How did I miss the signs? Did I drive them to this? Feeling this way can be a normal part of the process of dealing with big changes and challenges, but it's important to remember that people self-harm for a wide variety of reasons. You can't blame yourself.
Try to be honest with yourself about how their self-harming makes you feel. It's ok to feel uncomfortable, upset, or even frightened. But try not to react with anger or look for someone to blame. You can still support your loved ones without sacrificing your own mental health.
8. practice empathy and understanding
Leave your judgement at the door. How you react and relate to your loved one is a key part of helping them feel supported. You can do this by trying not to judge or speculate as to why they have self-harmed. Ensuring you are doing your best to relate to them as a whole person, rather than focusing on their self-harming behaviours can also help. If in doubt, try to focus on having open, honest communication. Remind them of their positive qualities, and all the things that they do well. This can help them to feel supported and can help break the cycle of negative thinking in the moment. Where possible, avoid trying to force change, take charge or remove their options. These can all risk alienating them, which could make them less likely to open up.
9. keep in mind: recovery and relapse are both possibilities
Recovery isn't always a linear process. With the right support, recovery is completely possible - however, relapses are still possible, too. Old or bad habits can be easy to fall back on in times of change, high emotion, or stress. If you are worried that a friend may be relapsing, try not to be discouraged. Remind them of their progress and strength. Remind them that they aren't alone, and they deserve happiness. It's never too late to reach out and seek support - no matter how dark things may seem.