Self-Harm Awareness Month

March 4, 2021

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. 

Statistics Around Self-Harm

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. 

Recovering From Self-Harm

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.

  1. Put what you’re feeling into words. What emotions are you feeling before, during, and after self-harming. Which emotions are you seeking to feel, and what emotions are harmful?
  2. Identify other ways of feeling those emotions. Do you harm to feel a physical sensation? Look for an activity that will also release endorphins- dancing to a loud playlist or running. Do you harm to express your feelings? Write those emotions down to get them out of your system. 
  3. Tackle your emotions. What feelings led to you self-harming? What experiences, memories, or people make you feel that way? If you need help processing your emotions, consider seeing a therapist. They are trained to help you figure this out!
  4. Tell someone you trust. This is easier said than done, but finding a friend or family member who you trust can help make things so much better. If you’re worried about telling them the full story right away, start by saying, “I am struggling right now and I could really use your support.” 

If you are in need of immediate help, you can use the Crisis text line for crisis counseling. Text HOME to 74741.

MABH Author

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