What is self-harm?

What is self-harm?
The phrase ‘self-harm’ is used to describe a wide range of behaviours. Self-harm is often understood to be a physical response to an emotional pain of some kind, and can be very addictive. Some of the things people do are quite well known, such as cutting, burning or pinching, but there are many, many ways to hurt yourself, including abusing drugs and alcohol or having an eating disorder. Sometimes, it’s more important to focus on how someone is feeling rather than what they do to themselves. Quite often, people find that more helpful. 

Self-Harm, the myths:

Many people believe false things about why others self-harm. Here are some of the myths:

  • They enjoy the pain or the act
  • People who self-harm are mentally ill
  • It is all just to get attention
  • Only girls do it
  • It's all the internet's fault
  • Self-harm is one step away from suicide
... All of these are mere myths and there is a lot of work we need to do as a society to help to break down these myths and figure out a way to support people who self-harm.

Who self-harms?

Who self-harms?

Self-harm affects people of all ages and from all walks of life – regardless of where someone is from, what their social or cultural background might be, or how well they perform at school. You are not necessarily more likely to have a problem with self-harm if you come from a more deprived part of town; it doesn't matter if your parents are together or divorced, if you come from a single parent family or if your parents are employed or not. Young people growing up in care are not more or less likely to self-harm than teenagers who live with their families.

Know your body: The risks of self harming.

Most importantly, if someone is self-harming, they must be aware of the risks. Although the information isn't pretty it is important to know the long-term effects that self-harming has on the human body.

Support available: