Fifty Key Messages – children, teenagers and self harm

It can be a very worrying time for you as a parent when you suspect that your child or teenager is harming themselves.  Self-harm means harming yourself as a way of dealing with emotional distress. Sometimes distressing problems may feel like they will never go away. It can seem that things will never get better. This can be a lonely place to be. Some people use self-harm as a way to try to escape from or deal with pain or stress that they find difficult to tolerate in their lives.

If self-harm is something you use as a way of dealing with emotional pain, there is support available to help you find other ways of coping.

If you have a child who you suspect has self-harmed or you believe they are thinking of self-harming, you can get help from:

  • General Practitioner (GP)

Find a local family doctor (GP) or health centre by visiting the HSE.ie online service finder. If it’s late in the evening, night time or the weekend, contact a G.P. Out of Hours Service.  G.P.s are also listed under ‘General Practitioners’ in the Golden Pages. Find out how a G.P. can offer support for mental health problems.

  • Hospital services

Go to or contact the Emergency Department of your nearest general hospital if you have a child or teenager who has self harmed and needs medical attention. Hospitals are listed on the HSE.ie online service finder. You can also contact the emergency services by calling 999 or 112.

  • HSE Mental health services 

If your child or teenager has been (or is currently) supported by a mental health team, go to the Emergency Department or contact the service you are attending and ask for an appointment as soon as possible.

  • Counselling 

Pieta House offer support and counselling. A G.P. can recommend counselling services in your area. These might include free, low cost or private options.

  • Listening service

Parentline.ie is a resource for parents who are experiencing difficulties, contact them on LoCall 1890 927277 or 01 8733500.

Samaritans is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for anyone struggling to cope. For confidential, non-judgemental support please free call 116 123 in the Republic of Ireland or 08457 90 90 90 in Northern Ireland, email jo@samaritans.org, or visit www.samaritans.ie for details of the nearest branch.

To explore more Key Messages to support your parenting see https://www.tusla.ie/parenting-24-seven/12-years/

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Infant Mental Health Awareness Week runs from June 13th-19th.           

This week provides an opportunity to focus attention on the wellbeing, social and emotional development of our babies and young children. It highlights the importance of early relationships and a relationship based approach to interventions with infants and families. As our understanding of IMH and its evidence base develops, so also does our knowledge of how to apply this knowledge and an ‘IMH lens’ to interactions with infants, parents and caregivers in health and social services. 

What is infant mental health?

Infant Mental health (IMH) refers to the healthy social and emotional development of Infants starting at conception up to three years of age.

The first 1000 days of life are recognised as a critical period of opportunity to support infant mental health. Decades of research have shown that it is the quality of the early caregiver relationship that is a significant determinant of the infant’s healthy social and emotional development and in turn physical health, right up to adulthood.

 

The National Healthy Childhood Programme has embedded IMH as the foundation of the development of its resources and in the approach of the delivery of the universal child health service. This embedding of key messages can be seen in the My Child suite of books (www.mychild.ie/books) and also on www.MyChild.ie  where key messages around bonding and relationship building have been embedded for the parent/caregiver.

 

In clinical practice the topic of IMH has been included for the first time in the National Standardised Child Health Record. To build on this, the National Healthy Childhood Programme have just completed a suite of three eLearning units which are now available on HSEland for healthcare practitioners / caregivers who are working with children and families.  

 

Throughout the week you will see videos and key IMH messaging being promoted on the HSE MyChild social media pages ( Facebook / Instagram ). Keep an eye out in the National Newspapers for articles from our experts also. (IrishTimes article)  

 

In addition The National Healthy Childhood Programme have developed a series of ten practical videos with HSE expert advice which are now available on YouTube and on the relevant pages on the www.mychild.ie website.

These videos (2-3 minutes each) are aimed at parents/guardians of children (0 – 3 years).

These new video resources are available here while lots more expert advice for every step of pregnancy, baby and toddler health can also be found at www.mychild.ie

There are a suite of posters available focusing on the promotion of IMH messaging to order from healthy.childhood@hse.ie

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