Increased Precautions We're Taking in Response to COVID-19
As updates on the impact of the coronavirus continue to be released, we want to take a moment to inform you of the heightened preventative measures we have put in place at Millcreek Behavioral Health to keep our patients, their families, and our employees safe. All efforts are guided by and in adherence to the recommendations distributed by the CDC.

Please note that for the safety of our patients, their families, and our staff, on-site visitation is no longer allowed at Millcreek Behavioral Health.

  • This restriction has been implemented in compliance with updated corporate and state regulations to further reduce the risks associated with COVID-19.
  • We are offering visitation through telehealth services so that our patients can remain connected to their loved ones.
  • Alternate methods of communication for other services are being vetted and may be offered when deemed clinically appropriate.

For specific information regarding these changes and limitations, please contact us directly.

CDC updates are consistently monitored to ensure that all guidance followed is based on the latest information released.

  • All staff has received infection prevention and control training.
  • Thorough disinfection and hygiene guidance has been provided.
  • Patient care supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer are being monitored and utilized.
  • Temperature and symptom screening protocols are in place for all patients and staff.
  • Social distancing strategies have been implemented to ensure that patients and staff maintain proper distance from one another at all times.
  • Cleaning service contracts have been reviewed for additional support.
  • Personal protective equipment items are routinely checked to ensure proper and secure storage.
  • CDC informational posters are on display to provide important reminders on proper infection prevention procedures.
  • We are in communication with our local health department to receive important community-specific updates.

The safety of our patients, their families, and our employees is our top priority, and we will remain steadfast in our efforts to reduce any risk associated with COVID-19.

The CDC has provided a list of easy tips that can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then immediately dispose of the tissue.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.

For detailed information on COVID-19, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Signs, Symptoms, & Causes of Self-Harm

The first step to getting help is recognizing the problem. If you’re concerned your child or teenager may be suffering from self-harm, learn more about the signs and symptoms to watch for.

Understanding Self-Harm

Learn about self-harm

Self-harming behaviors are defined as behaviors that are a deliberate infliction of harm to one’s body. These behaviors can include burning, cutting, hitting oneself, banging one’s head against a hard object, or drinking harmful substances. While this behavior may seem like an attempt at suicide, in most cases it is not. More likely than not, children and adolescents self-harm as a way to get quick relief from emotional distress. Today many children and adolescents are struggling to cope with the stress of school, problems within their families, and peer relationships. Some children may be overscheduled or constantly pressured by their parents.

Many children and adolescents who hurt themselves are trying to cope with this extreme amount of stress and anxiety or self-sooth inner pain that they are unable to control. Additionally, self-harm has been known to help a person who feels dead inside or emotionally disconnected from the world around them find a means of remaining grounded in reality because it allows them to feel physical pain.

Initially after individuals inflict harm on themselves, they may feel a sense of calm, a release of tension, and even a sense of euphoria. However, those feelings are only temporary. Shortly after these feelings dissipate, they are replaced with guilt, shame, and the return of painful emotions. While self-harm may not be done in an attempt to die by suicide it can lead to the possibility of more serious and even fatal repercussions.

Statistics

Self-harm statistics

It has been estimated that schizophrenia affects 1% of the American population. Up until recently, schizophrenia was not diagnosed in children and adolescents. However, there has been growing awareness of the fact that schizophrenia can present its onset in childhood, with children younger than 5 years old having been documented as experiencing symptoms. Fortunately, being diagnosed with schizophrenia as a child is rare, with only 1 in 40,000 children experiencing the onset of symptoms before the age of 13.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and risk factors for self-harm in children and teens

There is not any one single cause that leads children or adolescents to begin to harm themselves, but in general it is the result of an inability to cope with psychological pain or other life stressors in a healthy way. Children who self-harm may have a difficult time talking about, expressing, and regulating their feelings. Other reasons why a child or adolescent may self-harm include:

  • To feel a sense of control over one’s body, feelings, or life situations
  • They feel emotionally disconnected from or invalidated by their parents
  • They want to fit in with a particular peer group that encourages this type of behavior
  • They want to feel anything at all, even if it is physical pain
  • Seeking relief from emotional distress
  • As a form of self-punishment

Additionally there may be certain risk factors that can increase the risk of self-injury, which may include:

  • Being female
  • Having friends who self-harm
  • Presence of certain mental health disorders
  • Excessive alcohol or drug use
Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of self-harm in children and teens

The signs and symptoms of self-harm will vary among children and adolescents depending upon their own personal method of self-injury. While any area of the body may be used for self-harm, it is more common for the arms, legs, and front torso to be the targets of self-mutilation because these areas are easily hidden by clothing. Examples of possible symptoms of self-harm might include:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Keeping instruments used for self-injury on hand
  • Difficulties with relationships
  • Wearing long-sleeved shirts or long pants, even when it is hot outside
  • Spending excessive amounts of time alone
  • No longer participating in activities that were once enjoyed
  • Claiming to have frequent accidents

Physical symptoms:

  • Scars
  • Frequent bruises, cuts, or scratches
  • Patches of missing hair
  • Broken bones

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Having difficulty controlling one’s impulses
  • Persistent questions about one’s personal identity
  • Chronic, uncontrollable thoughts of wanting to self-injure
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Dissociating

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Emotional instability
  • Grief
  • Guilt
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Feeling worthless
  • Feelings of helplessness
  • Loneliness
  • Increased feelings of anxiety when unable to self-harm
Effects

Effects of self-harm in children and teens

If not properly address the long-term effects of self-harm can be devastating for an adolescent, with some of the effects lasting into adulthood. Some of these effects can include:

  • Substance abuse and addiction
  • Delusional thoughts
  • Consistent, obsessive, and intrusive thoughts about the behavior itself
  • Feelings of guilt, shame, and disgust
  • Social isolation
  • Family conflict
  • Development of borderline personality disorder as an adult
  • Long-term physical effects including: infected wounds, permanent scarring, permanent tissue damage, and multi-organ failure
  • Accidental death
Co-Occurring Disorders

Self-harm and co-occurring disorders

Self-harm is often associated with a number of mental health disorders. The most common co-occurring mental disorders that a person who self-injures may be struggling with can include:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Depressive disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Eating disorders
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Other anxiety disorders
  • Substance abuse and addiction