Parents’ experience and psychoeducation needs when supporting a young person who self-harms
Krysinska K., Curtis S., Lamblin M., Stefanac N., Gibson K., Byrne S., Thorn P., Rice SM., McRoberts A., Ferrey A., Perry Y., Lin A., Hetrick S., Hawton K., Robinson J.
© 2020 by the authors. Background: Self-harm in young people can have a substantial negative impact on the well-being and functioning of parents and other carers. The “Coping with Self-Harm” booklet was originally developed in the UK as a resource for parents and carers of young people who self-harm, and an adaptation study of this resource was conducted in Australia. This paper presents qualitative analysis of interviews with parents about their experiences and psychoeducational needs when supporting a young person who engages in self harm. Methods: The qualitative study drew on semi-structured individual and group interviews with parents (n = 19 participants) of young people who self-harm. Data were analysed using Thematic Analysis. Results: The analysis identified six themes: (1) the discovery of self-harm, (2) challenges in the parent-young person relationship, (3) parents’ need to understand self-harm, (4) parents’ emotional reactions to self-harm, (5) the importance of self-care and help-seeking among parents, and (6) the need for psychoeducational resources. Conclusion: The study highlights the need for support for parents and carers of young people who engage in self-harm, including development and adaptation of resources, such as the “Coping with Self-Harm” booklet, of which an Australian version has now been developed.