SOCIAL MEDIA

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Self Harm and Telling A Teacher


A lot of people wonder who to tell when it comes to self harm, and sometimes telling a parent is daunting and the idea of a doctor is too serious. So why not a teacher? As some of you may have read I initially told a teacher about my self harm and it was actually one of the best things I decided to do. I am, of course talking from experience and so I cannot vouch that everyone's experience will be as positive as mine.
Firstly telling a teacher and confidentially; it does depend on your problem and also your situation and age. I would presume that if you are quite young (12/13) then legally there may be a need to pass information onto a third party, eg a doctor or parent. It also depends on your school, each school has different regulations when it comes to these sorts of issues. If you are worried then ask beforehand, is this confidential? Then, depending on the answer you are given you can choose whether or not you proceed to tell them. With a doctor, if you are over the age of 16 then you are guaranteed confidentiality unless you are a danger to yourself or others. Teachers have been trained in dealing with self harm issues and so they do in a sense understand.
So here is my experience with telling a teacher about my self harm.

 I was 16 when I first told a teacher about my self harm. I think what I was most scared of was her reaction, but she was so calm that it reassured me. It wasn't until I had explained what had been happening that I started to panic that my mum could possibly find out. But due to my home situation (mum having a brain tumour and dad not being around) the teacher agreed not to tell my mum. It stayed this way for about 3 months. However, my self harm did get worse and eventually got to a point where I was a danger to myself. This is when I was told that I needed to tell my mum and that if I didn't that this particular teacher would have to. So I eventually mustered up the courage to tell my mum. Once mum knew, I made the teacher aware that I had told mum about what was happening. I was then asked for my mum to send some sort of confirmation to the school that she did know (in case I was lying to the school.) By this time I had now started sixth form but I was still at the same school. As I progressed into a new year I got a new head of year and she then needed to be aware of what was happening. I really didn't want more people to know, however once again, looking back I realise that the more people that knew the more support I was able to receive. So my new head of year knew and here began my "recovery" and never did I expect to be so supported. I was called in regularly to check up on me and my home situation however, I wasn't really in recovery because I was still self harming, just in new places so no one would know. Eventually it leaked that I was still at it but these two teachers carried on respecting my wish not to tell my mum due to my home situation. However, after a rough night a couple of weeks later, I went to school the next day to be told that they would be phoning my mum regarding my self harm. I remember this day all too clearly. I thought I was going in for a general chat with my old head of year but that wasn't the case. So there began weekly phone calls between my head of year and my mum ( I didn't actually know about this until a couple of months ago). But I think it is thanks to the support I received at school that I was able to recover. A technique I found helpful whilst recovering was counting the days that I hadn't self harmed and my head of year seemed to follow that. She would call me in and ask how many days and then I would answer, and because she knew how many days it had been she would then know if there had been a relapse or not.
Telling someone is the first step in recovery, be that a friend, teacher, parent or doctor. However, telling a friend is tricky because they might not actually know how to help. It is for you to judge who you are most comfortable in telling. Once you tell someone you will feel so much lighter as you won't be weighed down by this secret and you can begin the journey to a happier you.
Stay strong lovelies

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