The Psychology of Self-Injury: Exploring Self-Harm & Mental Health

Youth Crisis, Self-Harm, & Mental Health Language, with Drs. Rachel Acheson & Maria Papadima

Episode Summary

Rachel Acheson, PhD, and Maria Papadima, PhD, from the Association of Child Psychotherapists in London describe how today's "adolescent crisis," including self-injury and self-harm, is often expressed through mental health language.

Episode Notes

Amidst a global youth mental health crisis, is it possible that many young people are experiencing adolescent development challenges but are using mental health language to describe their distress? Even to the degree of experiencing crises that include self-harm like nonsuicidal self-injury and suicidal thoughts and behaviors? In this episode, Drs. Maria Papadima and Rachel Acheson share observations from their clinical work with youth, consider trends such as self-diagnosing through TikTok and Instagram, discuss how they walk parents and youth through these mental health crises, and offer a psychoanalytic perspective of current trends. 

Learn more about Dr. Papadima and her work at, and read her blog about "Self-diagnosis via TikTok" here. Below is the reference and link to their paper discussed in this episode:

  1. Acheson, R., & Papadima, M. (2023). The search for identity: Working therapeutically with adolescents in crisis. Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 49(1), 95-119.

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The Psychology of Self-Injury podcast has been rated #1 by Feedspot  in their list of "10 Best Self Harm Podcasts" and #5 in their "20 Best Clinical Psychology Podcasts." It has also been featured in Audible's "Best Mental Health Podcasts to Defy Stigma and Begin to Heal."

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