I don’t watch films with a purpose of getting myself freaked but Black Swan made a pretty fair effort. Who would have thought a film about ballet dancers could be so dark?! I think that shows how little I appreciate ballet.
I was uncomfortable but it was a brilliant film. I really respect that it deals with self-harm so vividly and disturbingly. Self-harm is so often glorified in teen culture but in a film full of confusing hallucinations and psychotic episodes the only thing you know is real is the pain and self-mutilation. The message is clear, self-harm is destructive.
As adults in the 21st century we need to understand that self-harm is endemic. It is impossible to know how many children and young people try to hurt themselves. However, according to a quick survey of mental health websites it is likely that well over 10% of teenagers will self-harm at some point in their adolescence. And it is not just teenage girls. Increasing numbers of boys are deliberately harming themselves and the issues linger on into adulthood for many, it is just that adults are more tactful when it comes to hiding their actions.
I feel that as responsible adults we need to keep our eyes open for the signs of self-harm, especially among the teenagers we have any contact with. At the YMCA we have provided self-harm and suicide training for many of our Supported Lodgings Hosts and they have found it useful in there personal lives as well as when providing support through the YMCA. There are loads of organisations out there with information and good advice. A few good places to start for resources are Childline, Young Minds or the National Self Harm Network.