Re-building relationships and breaking the pattern of self-harm
One day when 11-year-old Chantal came out for her PE lesson her teacher noticed some gash marks on her thighs, which seemed to be self-inflicted. Worried, the teacher suggested that Chantal talk to someone and introduced her to the east to west Relational Support Worker (RSW) at the school.
As the RSW slowly built up trust with Chantal, she admitted that she had been cutting herself. Her home life was complicated and her dad had left the family when she was only three years old, but recently he'd been back in touch with Chantal. She wanted to talk to him, but didn’t really know how to develop the relationship, and was struggling to process her feelings about getting to know her father again.
This renewed contact coincided with some issues at school – Chantal was being bullied by a group of girls in her year. So all together she was feeling isolated, stressed and overwhelmed, leading her to turn to self-harm as an outlet for her pent-up emotions.
Over a period of several months, our RSW was able to help Chantal work through her feelings of rejection and focus on growing her self-esteem and confidence. Thanks to this support, Chantal has now completely stopped self-harming and is feeling much more positive and able to cope with the difficult relationships in her life.
* All children's names and photos have been changed to protect their identity