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Teen starts self-harm support group

Teen starts self-harm support group

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - A 15 year old from Idaho Falls spearheaded the idea for a self-harm support group for teenagers.

The mental health center Reach Beyond is helping get it started. The group will be run by teenagers and for teenagers, but a professional will be supervising the meetings.

The goal is to help each other find recovery in a safe place where teens can talk about how they're feeling.

"It's like an addiction," said Makayla Erickson.

Erickson said her addiction to cut herself started when she was twelve.

"As the years went by, things got worse, you know being a teenager and all," said Erickson.

Entering into her teen years, she lost her grandparents, went through a bad break-up, started hanging out with the wrong crowd at school and fell into depression. Cutting became coping.

"Cutting, you don't feel it in the moment of the hurt or anger," said Erickson. She would use everyday objects to cut her herself.

"I took a razor apart, like an actual shaving razor and used the blades out of that. Before that I used safety pins, I would use tacks or just metal objects," said Erickson.

Each one of her scars have a story. "I have some on my arms, but they're not as bad as the ones on my thighs," said Erickson.

Her own story of adversity is one she doesn't want to scar her life.
"A lot of people who self harm don't feel like they have someone to turn to," said Erickson.

Now with the help of her counselor teens have a place to turn to.

"Makayla came to us with the idea of a self harm group and we saw it as a real need in the community," said Mallori Warren, supervisor at Reach Beyond.

Warren said by not addressing cutting or other ways of self-harm, it risks letting teens go all the way.

"I would recommend that parents don't go 'You're grounded for the rest of your life,' and scream and yell. Rather, 'I'm worried about you, I care about you and lets find help, lets do this together,'" said Warren.

Makayla found support and though her journey has its struggles, she said this group is all about hope.

"I'm doing really well actually. Starting the group has kept me busy. It made me exciting knowing that I'm going to help people that feel the same way," said Erickson.

The group meets Thursday, 7 p.m. at Reach Beyond In Idaho Falls. 765 Oxford Dr, Idaho Falls, ID, 83401.

Mallori Warren can be contact at 208.339.2089.

Teens can drop by and whatever they share will be kept confidential. The first four meetings are free, after that, Reach Beyond will work on case by case basis for payment options.

Reach Beyond is also working to arrange a once a month session for parents.

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