Philadelphia’s Leading Self-Harm Treatment Hospital

If you or a loved one is struggling with self-harm, finding the right treatment can be a challenge. We’re here to help you determine whether the care we offer is the right fit.

Learn About Self-Harm Treatment

Learn about self-harm treatment at Belmont Behavioral Health System in Philadelphia, PA

When an individual engages in behaviors that are designed to inflict damage or pain onto his or her own body, that individual is engaging in self-harming behaviors. Self-harm, which is also known as self-mutilation or self-injury, is often a symptom of a mental health disorder. It may also be a means of gaining a sense of control after trauma or loss of control, or as an attempt to create a physical manifestation of intense internal suffering. Some of the common ways that individuals engage in self-harm is by pinching, scratching, cutting, bruising, or burning one’s self, drinking caustic or poisonous substances, or even breaking one’s bones.

Although self-harm may lead to unfortunate situations, it is generally not intended as a suicidal measure. In many cases, these individuals are trying to gain some sense of control, are trying to punish themselves, or cope with trauma or distressing experiences. Even still, this behavior should be taken very seriously, as it can lead to accidental death or illness. It is important to seek treatment as soon as possible.

Effective treatment can be found at Belmont Behavioral Health System, a hospital for self-harm treatment in Philadelphia. Our dedicated and skilled professionals understand the causes and treatments of this often recurring behavior. By taking a closer look at each unique individual, and putting together personalized treatment plans, our treatment center is in place to treat the emotional and psychological concerns that lead to self-harm.

How to Help a Loved One

Helping a loved one get treatment for self-harm

The discovery that a loved one or friend has been self-harming can be distressing and confusing. Self-injury is an indication that the individual does need help to overcome the causes behind this issue, and you can be part of putting together a solution to this concerning issue.

An important first step is to determine if these self-injuring actions are self-harm or an actual attempt at suicide. For example, cutting one’s arms or legs in benign areas may indicate self-harm, while deeply cutting into one’s wrists may be an attempt of suicide. No matter what evidence you see, it is important to speak with your loved one calmly and directly. Express your care and concern and ask your loved one if he or she has been thinking about or has attempted suicide.

While you must use your best judgment to determine what risk your loved one faces, it is important to not take risks. If you feel that your loved one is in immediate danger of suicidal behavior, contact 911 or a suicide prevention hotline immediately. If you feel comfortable that your loved one is not in imminent danger, an emergency response is probably not needed, but it is important to still seek treatment.

Once you know that your loved one is not at immediate risk of suicide, it is a good idea to learn all that you can about self-injury behavior. You may want to visit reputable websites, speak to your family physician, or talk with a mental health clinician. You will also want to research different types of treatment that have proven effective in helping individuals who self-injure. Finally, you will want to identify treatment centers that meet the needs of your loved one.

It is important to take good care of yourself through this process. Friends, family members, or even a trusted counselor can be a big asset in helping you during this process. Loved ones and family members may be able to help you monitor your loved one and make sure that he or she is remaining safe. Support groups may help you find emotional and moral support. Many treatment centers offer family counseling or family education as well.

During this process, remain in open communication with your loved one as much as possible. If your loved one is willing to accept help, then he or she can join you in the effort to find the best treatment. If your loved one is resistant to treatment, the treatment center of your choice may be able to help you talk with your loved one and cope with this situation.

When speaking with your friend or family member, do your best to remain calm and empathetic. Although this situation is challenging, and your loved one may be resistant, he or she is still in crisis. It will be easy for these conversations to end in argument, but your support network will be able to help you remain peaceful with the person you most wish to help.

Once your friend or family member agrees to receive help, you may be able to help in practical ways by offering pet care, child care, transportation, or daily life demands. You may even be able to assist with medical appointments if you are very close. By helping with these matters, you will remove all barriers to treatment that your loved one may be considering.

Entering treatment is the first step. Overcoming self-harm behaviors may be very challenging, as it is a behavior that tends to return in time. With the right treatment, many people go on to stop self-harming and move forward to happier lives. Belmont Behavioral Health, a self-harm treatment center in Philadelphia, offers comprehensive treatment to help individuals recover from self-injury and the underlying causes behind this behavior.

Why Consider Belmont

Why consider treatment for self-harm at Belmont Behavioral Health System in Philadelphia, PA

Repeated behaviors of self-harm that go untreated can lead to a number of problems. Physical injury may result from a number of self-injuring behaviors, and result in a number of physical complications. Because individuals often try to hide these behaviors, they may go to extremes to hide injuries. Unfortunately, infection is highly possible with these injuries and may result in serious infectious conditions that may become septic or toxic to the body. Furthermore, if an individual decides to engage in suicidal behavior, he or she may be slightly more likely to perform a successful suicide due to self-injury practice in the past.

It is important to remain aware that self-harm is not a mental health disorder. Rather, it is a symptom of a mental health disorder or past trauma. Many individuals who engage in this behavior have underlying causes behind the behavior that need treatment. These individuals may also experience additional stresses of shame or guilt due to these behaviors.

Our hospital provides comprehensive treatment for self-injury and self-harming behaviors. By treating the issues for which self-harming behaviors are symptomatic, we can empower individuals to pursue healthier and happier futures.

Types of Treatment

Types of self-harm treatment offered at Belmont Behavioral Health System in Philadelphia, PA

Our treatment center is a psychiatric hospital that provides care for children, adolescents, adults, and geriatric patients who are struggling with psychiatric issues, substance use, and co-occurring mental health problems. Each year, we care for approximately 3500 individuals in our inpatient treatment center alone.

Founded in 1937 as a 60-bed psychiatric hospital, we have grown to exceed the dreams of our founders, and we pride ourselves on being established members of our community in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Our campus is situated on 13 acres of land in a park-like setting that provides a serene environment in which to help individuals overcome mental health difficulties.

Treatment at our hospital is based on a foundation of individualized care. We recognize that each person who comes to heal with us brings a unique set of strengths, needs, and treatment goals. We are committed to developing care plans that are tailored for each person who struggles with self-harm. At our treatment center, no two treatment plans are the same, and our treatment is so successful that 92% of inpatients are discharged home, instead of to other levels of care, after treatment has ended.

Our hospital offers a wide range of interventions across various levels of care. These interventions include the following:

Medically-monitored detoxification: We recognize that individuals with psychiatric disorders may also struggle with substance abuse issues that can interfere with their ability to manage the symptoms of self-harm. As a result, we provide detoxification services at our treatment center that allow individuals to safely withdraw from substances of abuse under the watchful eye of our physicians and nursing team. While we are unable to provide detox services for individuals using methadone or Suboxone, we are able to maintain individuals who are already taking these medications.

Medication management: Many individuals struggling with mental health disorders, including self-harm, benefit from including medications in their treatment regimen. At our treatment center, every inpatient meets with a member of our medical team for an initial medication evaluation and ongoing daily medication monitoring.

Individual therapy: Patients can make substantial progress in their treatment for self-harm, for when they have a regular opportunity to process emotions, triumphs, and setbacks within the safety of a one-on-one therapeutic relationship. To support this progress, we provide regular individual therapy and counseling sessions for every individual at our hospital. Frequency of sessions varies based on the patient’s age, unit, and need, as determined by collaboration between the patient and his or her treatment team. Patients meet with social services providers, case managers, rehab service providers, pastoral counselors, and other trainees and clinicians as recommended by the treatment team. Children and adolescents have daily individual therapy with members of their treatment team.

Group therapy: In addition to individual therapy, groups form the backbone of treatment for self-harm, at our hospital. Led by members of our social services/case management, rehab, and nursing teams, groups are offered daily and provide a chance for patients to learn and practice coping skills while supporting and being supported by their peers. Our groups, provided at least twice daily, are focused on recovery and resilience and operate in modalities such as music therapy, leisure, art therapy, peer support, occupational therapy, talk therapy, psychoeducation, and creative expression. Groups cover a wide range of topics, some of which include:

  • 12 Steps
  • Cognitive-behavioral skills and interventions
  • Stages of Change
  • Medication education
  • Substance abuse
  • Trauma focused interventions
  • Aftercare
  • Self-care
  • ADLs (Activities of Daily Living)
  • Spirituality
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy skills
  • Meditation and mindfulness
  • Managing psychosis/illness management
  • Problem-solving and decision-making
  • Building strengths and resilience
  • Self-esteem
  • Values and goals
  • Healthy boundaries
  • AM/PM Community Meeting
  • Wellness and Recovery Action Planning
  • Behavioral activation (ceramics, ice cream social, exercise/yoga, art, music, activities/games, team building/challenge course, etc.)
  • AA/NA support groups
  • Peer-run groups (motivational speaker series & Face to Face Friday)

In addition to these groups, patients are invited to attend monthly alumni support meetings that give them an opportunity to speak with alumni from our treatment center and explore methods for achieving long-term success in treatment.

Family therapy: Our more than 80 years of experience treating mental illnesses like self-harm, has shown us that one person’s mental illness often affects his or her entire family. In addition, family support can sometimes make the difference between relapse and long-term success. As a result, we emphasize family involvement and therapy throughout a patient’s stay at our hospital. Our treatment team works with parents, grandparents, and other caregivers in order to develop the most complete treatment solutions that will best enable our patients to thrive after treatment. Our case managers meet with family members, schools, community agencies, and other organizations to develop coordinated discharge plans. On our child and adolescent units, family sessions can also include development and utilization of crisis and safety planning, development and utilization of coping and communications skills, exploration of the family dynamic, and ways to improve interpersonal skills within that dynamic.

Experiential therapy: Individual and group therapy are of enormous benefit, and we have found that our patients also benefit from involving more of their bodies and minds in their recovery process. Experiential therapies, which are offered at our treatment center, use embodiment and sensory experiences to deepen individuals’ engagement in treatment, increase empowerment, and promote a sense of safety. Some of these interventions include:

  • Art therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Role playing
  • Guided imagery

Education: For children and adolescents at our hospital, we recognize the importance of ensuring continuity in their education so that they are not forced to choose between mental health care and academic success. Children and adolescents attend two hours of schooling per day, receiving instruction that is specially tailored around their Individual Education Plans (IEPs). The social worker works closely with the child or adolescent and the Pennsylvania Child and Adolescent Service Program (CASSP) throughout the patient’s length of stay to ensure all services are planned collaboratively with the patient, his or her family, and all agencies involved in the child or adolescent’s life.

Other interventions: As a leading provider of mental health care in Pennsylvania, we are equipped to offer a number of other interventions to those in our care. Some of these include:

  • Nutrition consultation: All individuals at our hospital have access to our staff dietician as needed.
  • Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT): Individuals who are seeking alternatives to medication, or those for whom medications are not working, can elect to receive ECT for symptoms including depression, psychosis, catatonia, and mania. This form of treatment is quite safe and completely voluntary. Treatment generally involves a series of treatments two or three times a week for six to twelve treatments. In addition, maintenance treatments are often provided on an outpatient basis for the prevention of symptom relapse. Services are provided by certified ECT physicians, one of whom is our hospital’s Medical Director. The ECT physicians oversee ECT-trained nursing staff and an external group of certified registered nurse anesthetists.
  • Internal medicine: We provide internal medicine services to all of our patients. Our admissions process includes a physical exam, and consultation with an internal medicine physician is available throughout the course of a hospital stay.
  • Motivational speakers: We recognize that it can be superbly helpful to hear from other individuals who have learned to manage mental illness, and we bring in volunteer speakers, many of whom are trained as certified peer specialists and who have lived experience with mental illness and addiction, to offer personal insights into the challenges and successes of the recovery journey.
  • Sensory programming (STAR Program): Individuals’ bodies can be powerful allies in the pursuit of improved mental health, so our STAR program (Sensory Tool Awareness and Routines) is used to foster an increased sense of safety, self-awareness, and control over patients’ lives by teaching tools which help to balance and regulate their nervous systems.
  • Autism services: Our on-staff behavior specialist is certified in autism studies and provides consultation on behavioral interventions for individuals with autism and families of those individuals.
  • Welcoming committee/Active treatment: As a part of our commitment to individually tailored treatment, we recognize that some individuals can benefit from interventions outside of groups, and we have developed resources that further allow patients to take treatment into their own hands. Within this intervention, we give patients a brief assessment and self-help materials to allow them to continue their growth outside of groups. We are also developing materials for individuals whose dominant language is not English.

Because recovery from self-harm is a journey, we recognize that inpatient care is only the beginning for many individuals. As such, our treatment teams, and especially our case workers, work with schools, community agencies, and other organizations to develop coordinated and integrated treatment and aftercare plans. We begin planning for discharge from day one of treatment so that our patients leave our hospital into the welcoming arms of community-based support and external resources, maximizing patients’ ability to continue the progress they made in treatment.

We put forth every effort to ensure that our patients can be successful in their recovery journeys. If you or a loved one is struggling with self-harm, please do not hesitate to contact us. Today could be the first day of a brighter future.

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