Many of the signs of self-harm are also indicators of a risk of hurting others. A parent or concerned adult must distinguish between distress, affect overwhelm, developmental testing of limits, normal peer conflicts – and a real risk of violence or harm to person(s). When there is concern or confusion, it is best to speak with the youth and explore the concerns in a calm and supportive manner, or to get support from the school or a mental health professional.
These are some potential indications that a youth presents a risk of harm to others.
- History of aggression, bullying, or violence towards others, including family members or other students.
- Comments about violence or hurting someone, whether they are direct statements or implied threats.
- Extreme anger directed towards an individual or group, particularly if there is a history of anger control deficits.
- Stalking or obsessive behavior towards an individual.
- Involvement with hate groups or infatuation with violence-related literature or social media groups.
- Gang involvement or association with violent or antisocial peers
- Victim of or participant in physical abuse or violent crime.