March is National Self-Harm Awareness Month, which highlights the education and breakdown of stigma and stereotypes associated with self-harm. Though self-harm is not considered a mental illness of its own, it is a symptom of mental illnesses like anxiety, depression, personality disorders, and eating disorders.
An analysis of self-injury across 41 countries from 1990-2015 found that roughly 17% of all people will self-harm during their lifetime, with the average age of first incident being 13. Of those who self-harm, around 50% seek help but only from friends instead of professionals.
The rates for self-harm are increasing. According to emergency room trends, there has been a 50% increase in reported self-harm among young women since 2009.
Self-harm is used as a coping mechanism for dealing with negative feelings and experiences. Breaking the cycle of using pain to cope with those negative feelings can be difficult, but it is totally possible. If you or someone you love is trying to recover from self harm, keep these things in mind.
If you are in need of immediate help, you can use the Crisis text line for crisis counseling. Text HOME to 74741.