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Self-Harm Treatment for Teens and Young Adults

Self-harm is often linked to serious mental health issues, which is why understanding the root of self-harm is key to long-lasting recovery. Fill out the short form below, or give us a call, to start healing today with Charlie Health

How is self-harm diagnosed?

Self-harm is not a diagnosable mental health condition, but it’s often associated with underlying mental health conditions. In a clinical assessment, a mental health provider usually identifies the underlying issues that may lead to self-harm, like anxiety, trauma, or depression.

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How do DBT skills help people who self-harm?

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) skills can provide people who self-harm with a structured framework to manage their emotional distress and help them find healthier coping mechanisms than self-harm. DBT teaches skills that help people regulate their emotional responses and tolerate intense feelings without self-harming. Overall, DBT empowers people to better understand and manage their emotions, ultimately reducing the urge to self-harm and promoting healthier coping skills.

In their words

Client & family testimonials


“I’m now able to resist my urges to self-harm.”

For a long while, I’d been struggling with mental health issues, with suicidal thoughts and self-harm issues as a result of mental abuse. In January, there was a big incident where I tried to severely harm myself. I was put into Charlie Health, and it was a good experience for me. I’m now able to resist my urges to self-harm, and my family relationship have gotten better. The healing process is hard, but it gets easier by the month.


Young Adult

Charlie Health was a great program to be apart of. I am very satisfied with the care and support I received. After some very traumatic events, I had thoughts of harming myself and started Charlie Health. I am so happy to say I am no longer in that crisis and have gained many different skills to help me in times of hardship. I recommend Charlie Health to anyone who needs extra support and care.



“Asking someone for help isn’t giving up…its refusing to give up.”

Charlie Health has helped me through most of my mental problems. You just have to give them a chance. They can help teach you how to cope with anything. For example, I learned that if you’re having a panic attack, you can use the tapping method. I learned that asking someone for help isn’t giving up…its refusing to give up. It may seem like you’re a bother, but in reality it only makes your health better instead of bottling it up inside. Don’t stop believing in yourself you. You can get through this 🙂


How can group support help people who self-harm?

Group support can serve as a safe and empathetic space for people who self-harm to talk about their experiences, thoughts, and feelings with others who may face similar challenges. It can make people who self-harm feel less alone and get advice from others on coping strategies, all of which can help reduce the urge to self-harm. Group members can also hold each other accountable and celebrate each other’s successes in their journey towards healthier coping mechanisms and emotional regulation.

Woman struggling with self harm scratching her forearm

How does Charlie Health treat self-harm?

Charlie Health takes a trauma-informed and relationally-focused approach to working with clients dealing with self-harm. 

Clients who self-harm are often dealing with attachment issues, stressful relationships, or trauma. Our all-virtual model offers a safe and accessible space for clients to foster connections with others and navigate the triggers that often lead to self-harm together. 

Our goal is to help our clients develop the skills necessary to deal with their mental health issues in a constructive manner.

What are the challenges of treating self-harm?

‍‍Treating self-harm can be challenging because the behavior is often a coping mechanism for dealing with underlying emotions, trauma, or other mental health issues. These root causes must be identified and addressed, usually through a combination of therapy and medication as needed, in order to treat self-harm. Also, self-harm can become addictive, making it difficult to break the cycle of behavior. 

Teen girl talking to her therapist about her self-harm

How effective is therapy for treating self-harm?

The effectiveness of therapy for treating self-harm is well-documented, but its success varies based on a person’s willingness to engage in treatment and the severity and underlying causes of their self-harming behaviors. Therapy, especially cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), are shown to help people reduce self-harming behaviors and develop healthier coping mechanisms. However, therapy outcomes can vary and relapses may occur. So, many people need ongoing support and a combination of therapies in order to maintain progress and stop self-harming behaviors.

FAQs on self-harm

What are the main signs of self-harm?

Some main signs of self-harm are:

  • Deliberate self-injury like cutting, burning, or scratching
  • Unexplained cuts, bruises, or scars
  • Wearing concealing clothing even in warm weather
  • Isolation
  • Mood changes
  • Emotional distress
  • Secrecy

It’s important to understand that not everyone who self-harms will show all of these signs. If you’re in imminent danger of hurting yourself, this is a mental health emergency. Contact The Suicide & Crisis Lifeline 24/7 by calling or texting 988.

How common is self-harm?

It’s challenging to determine how common self-harm is because of underreporting and stigma associated with the behavior. Anyone of any age can self-harm, but research indicates that self-harming is more commonly reported among young people and women. Some studies suggest rates of self-harm among adolescents and young adults are around 10-15% in some cases.

What causes self-harm?

Self-harm is typically caused by a mix of emotional, psychological, and environmental factors. Underlying mental health conditions, including depression and past trauma, can contribute to self-harming behaviors. Also, self-harm is often a way for people to cope with intense emotional pain, anxiety, or emotions, so a lack of effective emotional regulation strategies can cause self-harm.

Self-harm treatment at Charlie Health

We take a personalized approach to treating life-threatening mental health issues, including self-harm. 

Our virtual Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) is designed for teens and young adults who require more than once-weekly therapy and who are looking to connect with peers facing similar diagnoses and symptoms. We employ the leading evidence-based clinical practices along with mindfulness, creative arts, and experiential therapies to create curated treatment plans that foster sustainable healing.

Virtual IOP at Charlie Health is where you’ll find your group and grow together. We can’t wait to connect with you. Get started today.

Girl smiling talking to her mother

We’re building treatment plans as unique as you.