H.O.P.E Bags: Hold On Pain Ends In recognizing the growing incidence of self-injury, the Trauma Institute of Orange County collaborated on a special project with youth in our community who have learned healthy alternatives to managing intense emotions and overcome the urge to harm themselves. The end result of this collaboration was the creation of H.O.P.E bags. The institute was happily overwhelmed with the number of clinicians wanting these free bags. Unfortunately our total supply of these bags was depleted within hours of posting the notice that they were available. As we continue to get requests for the bags, we are sharing our ‘recipe’ for what we used.
Community Resources: Helpline pamphlet (Helpline #: 1-800-832-1200) and a Text 4 Teens card (Texting #: 845-391-1000), both from the Mental Health Association. These resources are available from the Mental Health Association of Orange County
Items to engage the senses and help one tolerate or distract themselves. Some of these items include: body lotion, bubble wrap, jolly rancher and pop rocks candy, stress balls, slap bracelets, tea bags, markers and stickers for skin, Chinese yo yo’s, Jacob’s ladder game, bendable figures, bracelets with inspirational words, mini games and puzzles (Note: we found that the one pictured was not helpful as it was too difficult and created frustration).
The Trauma Institute was able to distribute 100 bags to youth struggling to recover from self-injury through community providers (i.e. therapists, school social workers, etc.). It is our desire that this project will provide ways for others to work with youth to create their own H.O.P.E bags using the letters and handouts for inspiration. Kristen Fortuna and Robin Guiney- Co-Chairs of the Trauma Institute of Orange County