I am hoping that you will be able to find many helpful resources on self-injury here. Please note that this part of the site is a work in progress as I continue on my research journey. I will add resources as I read and learn more about self-injury. If you have have found some valuable resources on self-injury that I don't have listed below, (I am especially interested in resources from a Non-Western context), please email me so I can add them.
For an introductory bibliography on self-injury that I use as a part of the teaching team for the Masters of Pastoral Studies students at the Toronto School of Theology that gives a good overview of the literature, please click here.
Resources for Parents and Caregivers:*
The Cornell Research Program on Self-Injury and Recovery
This site provides excellent resources for parents and other caregivers, friends, mental health service providers, and other professionals. There is information and resources on NSSI in the schools, treatments, dispelling myths, and websites, videos, and books. The site also contains a section where specific resources regarding parenting strategies are offered.
Self-Injury Outreach and Support—Parent’s Page
This non-profit outreach group provides information and resources. This parent’s page contains information on treatments, approaches to discussing self-injury, and recommended readings and other resources.
Adolescent Self-Injury Foundation
This non-profit organization aims to offer hope in the recovery process for adolescents and young adults who self-injure and their families. The site has facts and information about self-injury, including misconceptions and warning signs, as well as information for parents and friends of those who self-injure.
The website presents information about treatment approaches, professional net- works, and other educational resources to help people end self-injurious behaviour.
Non-Suicidal Self-Injury: When the Solution Becomes the Problem
This site contains information on NSSI and its effects as presented on various forms of social media.
Gratz, K.L. & Chapman, A.L. Freedom from Self-Harm: Overcoming Self-Injury With Skills from DBT and Other Treatments. Oakland: New Harbinger, 2009.
Hollander, Michael. Helping Teens Who Cut: Understanding and Ending Self-Injury. New York: The Guilford Press, 2008.
*Many of these resources are recommended by Kelly L. Wester and Heather C. Trepal. They are taken from the chapter "NSSI and the Family" in their book Non-Suicidal Self-Injury: Wellness Perspectives on Behaviours, Symptoms and Diagnosis. New York, NY: Routledge 2017.
Books on Self-Injury from a Christian Perspective:
Marv Penner. Hope and Healing for Kids Who Cut: Learning to Understand and Help Those Who Self-Injure. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008.
For minsters, youth workers, pastoral and lay counsellors.
Jerusha Clarke. Inside a Cutter's Mind: Understanding and Helping Those Who Self-Injure. Colorado: THINK, 2007.
This text is primarily geared towards ministers and pastoral counsellors.
David Finnegan-Hosey Christ on the Psych Ward. New York, Church Publishing, 2018.
Part memoir and part theological exploration. Highly recommended.
Jan Kearn. Scars That Wound, Scars That Heal: A Journey Out of Self-Injury. Ohio: Standard Publishing, 2007.
This book is a faith-based memoir. More memoirs will be listed below shortly.
Rebecca St. James and Nancy Rue. The Merciful Scar. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2013.
This is narrative fiction that tells the story of a young girl who self-injures and who finds healing through her relationships with caring Christian adults who form her circle of care.
Resources from an Islamic Perspective
Ahmed, Sameera, and Mona M. Amer, eds. "Adolescents and Emerging Adults" in Counseling Muslims: Handbook of Mental Health Issues and Interventions. First edition. New York, NY ; London: Routledge, 2012. Page 257 has some interesting information regarding self-injury in Muslim youth in the UK.
Excellent Resources on Self-Injury for Counsellors
Walsh, Barent W. Treating Self-Injury: A Practical Guide. Second Ed. New York, NY: Guilford Press, 2012. This book is excellent, very comprehensive and helpful.
Favazza, Armando. Bodies Under Siege: Self-Mutilation, Nonsuicidal Self-Injury, and Body Modification in Culture and Psychiatry. Third Ed. Kindle Ed. New York: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011. The classic text on SI.
Shapiro, Lawrence E. Stopping the Pain: A Workbook for Teens Who Cut & Self-Injure. New Harbinger Publications, 2008. Helpful exercises for young people who self-injure to be used in conjunction with therapy.
Grassroots Faith-based Movements that Advocate for Self-Injurers
To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire, and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery. Their theme this year for World Suicide Prevention Day is "Tomorrow Needs You".
"Your story isn't over yet". The mission of Project Semicolon is to help reduce the incidents of suicide in the world through connected community and greater access to information and resources. We believe that suicide prevention is the collective responsibility of each and every person on the planet. An excellent place to write your own story and read about the journeys of others.
This Tumblr compiles the stories of people who want to share about their courage. "Mama Butterfly" encourages those who want to self-injure to draw a butterfly on the area of their skin that they would want to cut themselves.
Resources About Self-Injury in a Non-Western Context
Maryam Gholamrezaei, Jack De Stefano, and Nancy L. Heath, “Nonsuicidal Self-Injury across Cultures and Ethnic and Racial Minorities: A Review,” International Journal of Psychology 52, no. 4 (2017): 316–26, 319-324.Research is just beginning to emerge on the prevalence of NSSI in non-western countries, such as Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Turkey, Indonesia, India and China. Up until this point, research from the West, conducted with primarily Caucasian adolescents has dominated NSSI research. According to a study published in 2017 by Gholamrezaei et al, there is evidence that NSSI behaviours are significant amongst adolescent and high school students in many of these countries. For instance, the present data from Hong Kong, India and Indonesia that reports between a 31.2% - 38% occurrence of NSSI within the past year for high school or university aged students in those countries. They also report a significant gender difference in Turkey as NSSI is considered to be “acceptable” there for young males in low income areas. See:
Self-Injury and the ER Experience
I would recommend two resources for those who want to learn more about the experiences that youth who self-injure have when going to the emergency room because of their injuries.
The first is: Tate, Alice. “Getting It Right: Caring for People Who Self-Harm.” Emergency Nurse : The Journal of the RCN Accident and Emergency Nursing Association 18, no. 6 (October 1, 2010): 32. This is a brief and very excellent first hand account of an ER trip that surpassed her expectations. Also includes a discussion on what medical staff have done in the past to humiliate her.
The second resource is The Bill of Rights for Those Who Self-Harm which can be found in Barent Walsh's Treating Self-Injury: A Practical Guide, Second Edition. The purpose of the Bill is to help others to understand that sometimes medical professionals and counsellors make life harder on those who self-injure. Here are the tenets of The Bill:
1. The right to caring, humane medical treatment (receiving humane, gentle medical care, anesthesia used if stitches are required. Treatment of self-inflicted injury and accidental injury should be identical)
2. The right to participate fully in decisions about emergency psychiatric treatment (as long as no one's life is in immediate danger)
3. The right to body privacy (no body checks/strip searches)
4. The right to have the feelings behind SI validated
5. The right to disclose to whom they choose what they choose (no care providers disclosing that injuries are self-inflicted without permission)
6.The right to choose what coping mechanisms they will use (not being forced to choose between SI and treatment, no self-injury contracts)
7. The right to have care providers who do not allow their feelings about SI to distort the therapy (keeping the therapist's fear, anger and revulsion out of therapy)
8. The right to have the role that SI has played as a coping mechanism validated (no shaming, admonishing or chastising. SI is an effort to not commit suicide).
9. The right to not be considered a dangerous person simply because of self-inflicted injury (no restraints, being locked in a treatment room or involuntarily committed due to SI).
10. The right to having SI regarded as an attempt to communicate, not manipulate*
See: Walsh, Barent W. Treating Self-Injury: A Practical Guide. Second Ed. New York, NY: Guilford Press, 2012.
Coming soon! Resources on the following:
Five Influential Clinical Journal Articles on Self-Injury
The Difference Between Self-Injury and Suicide
Family Therapy Article Recommendations
Art Therapy and Self-Injury
Karl Menninger's Seminal Writing About Self-Injury From 1938