Increased Precautions We're Taking in Response to COVID-19

LAST UPDATED ON 03/15/2021

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 Southstone Behavioral Health Hospital 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, there are certain restrictions in place regarding on-site visitation at Southstone Behavioral Health Hospital.

  • These restrictions have been implemented in compliance with updated corporate and state regulations to further reduce the risks associated with COVID-19.
  • Options for telehealth visitation are continuously evaluated so that our patients can remain connected to their loved ones.
  • Alternate methods of communication for other services 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 receives ongoing infection prevention and control training.
  • Thorough disinfection and hygiene guidance is provided.
  • Patient care supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer are 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.

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

Signs & Symptoms of Self-Harming Behaviors in Adolescents

Understanding Self-Harm

Learn about self-harm

Also known as self-injury or self-mutilation, self-harm is the purposeful harming or causing of pain to one’s own body, and it is often linked to various mental disorders. The behaviors are considered self-harm due to their intention, and still describe a mental health condition whether or not the individual completes the intentioned act of harm. The most common types of self-harm are:

  • Pulling out your hair
  • Punching yourself or hitting your head against a wall or sharp object
  • Cutting, burning, or pinching your skin
  • Picking at wounds or scabs to aggravate their healing process

It is important to note that although self-harm is not a form of mental illness, it may be a sign of a mental health disorder. Another common misconception about self-harm is that it is an intentioned suicidal behavior. Some forms of self-harm can be fatal, but more often than not, an individual who engages in self-harm does not intend to die. At the same time, people who self-harm are more at risk for suicidal thoughts.

Although self-harm can be a symptom of a mental health disorder, adolescents may engage in self-harm for a variety of reasons. Often, those who participate in self-harm want to make intangible feelings tangible. Establishing a physicality and a tangibility to one’s pain can allow the individual to feel like they can better control their environment and predict their response to it. Similar to eating disorders, self-harm is a form of control. Naturally lacking in autonomy, adolescents often feel as though their life is out of their hands. The temptation of self-harm, then, is that it lets them decide what to do with their own body. Self-harm is often an adolescent’s attempt to control their decisions and decide their future.

Regardless of the reasons for self-harm, it is important to be aware of some common signs and symptoms if you suspect that your child is engaging in these dangerous behaviors.

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of self-harm

The signs and symptoms of self-harm will vary depending upon the individual’s age, personality, history of stress or trauma, and any preexisting mental health conditions. Although not extensive, the following is a list of some common signs and symptoms of self-harm:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Wearing long sleeves or long pants even in warm weather (this is often an attempt to hide cuts, scars, bruises, and scabs)
  • Wearing baggy clothes
  • Dodging questions or conversations when asked about their scars
  • Overtly lying about the origin of their scars (such as, “I fell,” or, “My cat scratched me,” etc.)
  • Sneaking around or acting secretive
  • Social anxiety
  • Significant increase or decrease in appetite
  • Aggressiveness or outbursts of anger
  • Tears
  • Reckless or impulsive behaviors
  • Isolation from friends and family (often going into their room or bathroom to “be alone”)

Physical symptoms:

  • Unexplained bruises, burns, scars, or cuts on any part of the body
  • Multiple cases of broken bones or other physical injuries
  • Hair loss
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
    • Note: Although the wrists and forearms are the most common places for self-harm, many adolescents will self-harm on their ankles, calves, or inner thighs, where the scars are less visible to others.

Mental symptoms:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Intense mood swings
  • Low self-esteem or outright self-hatred
  • Obsession with or complete disregard of physical appearance
  • Pervasive sense of guilt or shame
  • Strong desire to punish oneself
  • Inability to focus
  • Feeling out of control
  • Disassociation (disconnection from thoughts, feelings, memory, and physical experiences)

Effects of self-harm

Short-Term Effects: If unaddressed, self-harm can become a major problem for adolescents. Any adolescent who experiences any of the following short-term effects of self-harm should seek immediate professional treatment. Please be aware that just because the effects are deemed “short-term” does not mean that they are inconsequential or temporary. The short-term effects of untreated self-harm can include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Frequent visits to doctors or hospitals
  • Physical injuries
  • Harm to internal organs
  • Infections
  • Isolation from family and friends
  • Avoidance of school, work, or extracurricular activities
  • Neglect of hobbies
  • Loss of self-confidence
  • Substance abuse
  • Thoughts of suicide

Long-Term Effects: If further left untreated, those who struggle with self-harm may suffer from more long-term, or chronic, effects. Any sign of long-term effects should prompt immediate medical attention. Long-term effects of self-harm may include the following:

  • Permanent scars or skin damage
  • Organ failure
  • Significant medical/hospital bills
  • Depression
  • Addiction
  • Permanent loss of relationships
  • Persistent feelings of worthlessness, helplessness, and/or hopelessness
  • Suicidal behaviors
Co-Occurring Disorders

Self-harm and co-occurring disorders

Self-harm is not a mental disorder, although sometimes it can be a symptom of one. The following are disorders that can prompt self-harm:

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Substance use disorders (addiction)
  • Depressive disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Schizophrenia

When looking for treatment for self-harm, it is important that you find a clinician who can determine whether the self-harm behaviors are symptoms of a mental disorder. In any case, self-harm is treatable. At Southstone Behavioral Health in South Boston, Virginia, adolescents who engage in self-harm behaviors are provided with quality treatment and the utmost care. During treatment, adolescents can learn how to resist the urge to harm themselves.