EDGY Conference

Bree Van Dyke
Bree Van Dyke
UCLA Health
Bree Van Dyke
Bree Van Dyke is a Clinical Social Worker at UCLA Santa Monica Hospital. She currently works in the inpatient pediatrics unit where she works with youth ages 0-25 and their families. She graduated with her MSW from USC in 2019 with a specialization in Children, Youth, and Families. She has worked with LGBTQIA+ youth in multiple positions including at Pacific Pride Foundation where she co-facilitated an LGBTQIA+ youth group, ran a LGBTQIA+ youth Anti-Bullying Summit, and helped within the local high school's GSA. She interned at D'Veal Family and Youth Services and helped to create the LGBTQIA+ program within the agency. She has provided multiple LGBTQIA+ identity trainings to administration in the Department of Mental Health, the Department of Children and Family Services, probation, and Pasadena Unified School District. She has presented to MSW students and faculty on her own journey as an LGBTQIA+ identified woman who struggled with mental health including depression and self-harm during high school. She interned at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, in the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine - Center for Transyouth Health and Development where she provided short term therapy to trans youth. She recently transitioned out of outpatient community mental health where she focused on providing therapy to LGBTQIA+ youth and trained staff in LGBTQIA+ competencies. She has provided various LGBTQIA+ trainings to doctors, nurses, and other social workers at UCLA, as well as implemented more visibility on the pediatrics unit. She has a wealth of knowledge on the LGBTQIA+ community from both personal and professional experience, including many aspects of mental health. She looks forward to continuing to expand her knowledge on the LGBTQIA+ community and opening a private practice where she plans to work with LGBTQIA+ youth.


Embracing our Scars: Self-Harm 101
Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) is the deliberate and direct destruction of a person’s body tissue, without suicidal intent and for reasons not socially or culturally sanctioned (Self-Injury Outreach & Support, 2018). Self-harm is still a topic that is not talked about enough, especially with the growing concern for the safety of LGBTQIA+ youth. LGBTQIA+ youth are coming out at earlier ages, thus bringing to attention the added risks for this population. Many LGBTQIA+ youth end up engaging in some form of self-destructive behavior from dealing with the stigma and negative socialization around them. Within the LGBTQIA+ youth population, self-harm alongside depression and suicide is especially common. According to The 2020 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health by the Trevor Project, an alarming 40% of LGBTQIA+ youth ages 13-24 reported seriously considering suicide within the past year and 48%-60% reported engaging in self-harm over the past year (The Trevor Project, 2020). This disparity shows the importance of providing LGBTQIA+ youth with resources that affirm their identities. As professionals and parents, it is important to understand the types of self-harm, average age range when it can occur, causes, populations, risk factors, and self-harm in connection with mental health and suicide. It is imperative to provide protective factors for LGBTQIA+ youth in helping to replace self-harming behaviors with positive coping strategies. This author provides lived experience and a multitude of professional experiences working with LGBTQIA+ youth that has shown how taking away self-harming tools is not always the most effective strategy to mitigate self-harming behaviors. Helping LGBTQIA+ youth in different contexts including from a professional, parent, and educator perspective allows unique ways in which each can assist an LGBTQIA+ youth who is self-harming. The stigma, shame, and many misconceptions about self-harming behaviors is discussed in depth including from the lived experience of this author and professional experiences working with queer youth. Most importantly, it is imperative to know how to approach LGBTQIA+ youth who are self-harming including how to speak in a compassionate and empathy-based framework. Language has a phenomenal impact in the ways to appropriately approach these sensitive situations. Clear interventions and therapeutic techniques based in evidence-based practices on alternatives to self-harm, lived experience, and previous practices with queer youth who are self-harming are provided and discussed. There will be a brief activity focusing on creating an on the go coping skills list to use for youth who are going through difficulties in their lives. The idea of "printing one's scars" will be introduced as an empowering intervention for those who have self-harmed in the past and how to help heal for the future.