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For teens, self-injury may not signal suicide, Ellsworth teachers told

Myths about teenagers who injure themselves were dispelled and signs of the potential for this were presented to Ellsworth high and middle school teachers Wednesday.

Although the presentation by guest speaker Jennifer Muehlenkamp, PhD., an assistant professor of psychology at UW-Eau Claire, was directed at educators dealing with students, her message was valuable for parents of teens as well. Muehlenkamp, a licensed clinician specializing in treating suicidal and Non-Suicidal Self-Injury (NSSI) behavior, has published over 40 research articles and book chapters on the topic, along with on suicide and other related disorders.

Recognized by the American Association of Suicidology and a founding member of the International Study of Self-Injury, Muehlenkamp told the gathering NSSI and suicide are different, yet related. Only in a small percentage of students engaging in NSSI are there also suicidal thoughts.

"Most of them aren't suicidal," she said, "for them, it's about coping with and managing stressors."

Watch for more in the print version of the Herald.

Bill Kirk

Bill Kirk was editor of the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth, from 1988 to February, 2015 and is now on staff as a reporter. He holds a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He previously worked in the media distribution department at the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis campus and is past editor of The Tri-County News in Osseo, Wisconsin.

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