Nutley Family Service Bureau (NFSB) is excited to continue its free Mental Health Monthly Workshop Series with “Self-Harming Behaviors,” a presentation focused on how to identify non-suicidal, self-injury behaviors and support teens with healthy coping skills. This community education event will be held on Wednesday, June 8 at 7 pm at the NFSB Conference Room at 169 Chestnut Street in Nutley, across the parking lot from The Center.
NFSB clinician Kelly Rivadeneyra, LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) will lead the discussion. Kelly has spent the majority of her career working directly with adolescents, listening to their experiences with non-suicidal self-harming behaviors, and helping them work through their struggles from a different perspective than the family.
“I see a lot of self-harm happening, primarily with adolescents and young adults,” Kelly said. “Because they’re so young, most are living at home or very close to family members in terms of both relationships and distance. It’s a misunderstood behavior. Because self-harm is so common with adolescents and young adults, we need to educate loved ones about these behaviors and how to respond.”
What You Can Expect
In this workshop, Kelly will peel back self-harming behavior layer by layer, beginning with how pain is experienced. She will also explain reasons why non suicidal self-injury is used as a maladaptive coping skill to handle emotional pain or to feel something physical to break out of psychic numbing from trauma.
Then Kelly will move to a discussion about the definition of self-injury.
“There’s a lot of confusion about self-injury behavior,” Kelly said. “People tend to assume an adolescent or young adult engaging in this behavior is suicidal, which leads to a strong response or overreaction. We need to become more informed about what self-injury behavior is and why young people choose to cope with things this way.”
Lastly, Kelly will explain what you should do if you notice self-injury behavior in a loved one. How can you respond? How can you help? What’s the right approach? Families are terrified by this behavior and often respond in overactive and unhelpful ways, but there are productive ways to address a loved one’s needs.
How You and Your Loved One Can Benefit from this Workshop
If self-harming behavior is not addressed and supported effectively, it can become a very isolating experience. Isolation is never a good thing for someone dealing with any health struggle. That’s when support is needed most. The longer this behavior continues, the harder it is to break, just like any behavior or habit, because it has been reinforced for so long.
“Humans, by design, seek to avoid pain,” Kelly said. “Although self-injury is not the same as suicidal behavior, it can increase the risk of suicide.”
This workshop can help you foster a stronger connection with and deeper understanding of your loved one. When there is more understanding, the person will typically feel more comfortable discussing their struggles and more empowered to stop.
“Adolescents and young adults need more encouragement and less judgment,” Kelly said. “They need to understand that there are other ways to deal with emotional pain and stress. With the right approach, you can help them develop new coping skills and overcome their struggles.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with self-injury behavior, or you just want to become better informed, we encourage you to attend this free community education event.
Reservations are strongly recommended but walk-ins are welcome. Call NFSB for more information at 973-667-1884, option 1. Please visit the NFSB website for the full schedule of events and topics in our Mental Health Monthly Workshop Series.