This afternoon, whilst the young people were revising, I finished Hope and Healing for Kids Who Cut: Learning to Understand and Help Those Who Self-injure by Marv Penner. This isn’t a ‘fun’ book, but it is a very good book.
Marv is a youth worker and counsellor who’s been working with young people who hurt and struggle for over 30 years. This book comes from his lifetime of experience, and his heart to bring hope to these helpless young people. In just 160 pages this book covers a wide range of information and practical help. He brings us into this other world, and explains clearly what self-injury is, and what it isn’t. He then very succinctly attempts to explain what are some of the signs we can be looking for (and yet reminding us that we need to not see every teenager as a potential self-harmer) and then tackles the crucial question: why do they do it.
From chapter 8 onwards takes a ‘theological’ look at pain, and therefore sin, and then into a discussion are the cycle of addiction. The last few chapters give real practical advice and tips on how youthworkers and parents can walk alongside young people who self-harm. The end of the book is a fantastic resource including a bill of rights for those who self-harm, a list of useful organisations and their websites, some recommended further reading – with his own comments on each book, and lastly, a very moving drama.
If you don’t own this book, go get it, it’s well worth reading.