Peer responses to non-suicidal self-injury: Young women speak about the complexity of the support-provider role.
Fisher, K., Fitzgerald, J., & Tuffin, K.
Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) is a coping strategy employed by young people in response to feelings of distress. Adolescents may communicate NSSI involvement to peers whom they turn to for support. How young people respond to peers engaging in NSSI, how this affects the friendship, and how these supporters cope with assuming and administering this role are largely unknown. A qualitative methodology, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), was chosen for this project in order to explore and understand the experiences of participants. Five 15-yearold females whose friends engage in NSSI were interviewed from a secondary school in a provincial area of New Zealand. Four themes were identified: helping responses, NSSI and relationships, costs of caring, and supporters’ needs. The results highlighted the complex nature of this helping relationship and emphasised the need for increased and multifaceted forms of support to be provided for those responding to a peer engaging in self-harm.