Talks for Parents – Understanding Self-Harm in Adolescents

Talks for Parents – Understanding Self-Harm in Adolescents

A series of virtual talks for parents of adolescents who have engaged in self-harm will be staged throughout the month of November.

These talks have been coordinated by a partnership involving Pieta, the National Office for Suicide, Youth Mental Health lab and UCD Dublin.

Participants will have the opportunity to hear from professionals in the area who have extensive experience working with adolescents who have self-harmed and their families.

The first talk will be staged on Monday, November 1 next at 7pm and features speakers Sinead Raftery and Leigh Kenny who will speak on the topic of “Understanding Self Harm in Adolescents”.

On Monday, November 8 next Madeleine Connolly and Katie Murphy will deliver a webinar entitled “What is self-harm, why is my child doing it and what can I do about it?”

Madeleine Connolly is a Senior Psychiatric Social Worker and Systemic Family Psychotherapist working in the Lucena Clinic, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.

Katie Murphy is a Social Worker and Systemic Practitioner who also works in the Lucena Clinic, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.

They will share their experiences of working with parents and their young people who engage in self-harm.

Ideas on understanding, acknowledging, and validating their young person’s distress will be shared.

Parental self-regulation and other strategies which promote de-escalation will be explored and increasing safety and seeking help and information will also be discussed.

“Understanding Self Harm Through the Medium of Metaphor” is the title of the webinar scheduled for Tuesday, November 16 next at 7pm.

The speaker that night will be Dr Colman Noctor. Dr Noctor is a Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist who combines his role as an Assistant Professor in UCD with a busy clinical practice with a rapidly expanding role as a popular author, broadcaster, mental health speaker and host of the “Asking for a Parent” podcast.

Understanding is the first step in creating meaningful change. This talk will discuss some of the philosophies and myths about the meaning of self-harm.

Colman will describe how parents, teachers and professionals can help to understand the function of this behaviour and in turn help young people to put language on this very complex dynamic.

This project is also developing resources for the parents and guardians of young people (ages 10-19) who have engaged in self-harm. Parents and guardians who attend and who have experience supporting an adolescent will also be invited to take part in a survey. The findings of this survey will help organisations to provide useful information for parents in a way that is easy for parents to access.

These webinars are free of charge. You can register via this link:

Further information on local supports for children and young people is available HERE.